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Saying Goodbye to Grass in Our Boulevard Garden

Updated: Sep 27, 2019

It's hard to believe that it's September already because I feel like I am still waiting for it to warm up.  I guess I will have to break the news to our crops and let them know that was all the heat they are going to get this summer, like it or not.  Almost every other gardener I talk to tells me that their tomatoes are still green!  The consistently cool nights this season have slowed the growth of tomatoes and other heat loving crops like peppers, cucumbers, melons, and squash.  We are fortunate to have room for a few of these crops in our high tunnel, but the cool temperatures haven't gone unnoticed even in this cozy environment.

The perk of having a diverse crop selection though is that other plants have been quite pleased with the cooler temperatures this summer.  The fall plantings of broccolini, cabbage, and beets have been growing very comfortably this year and they usually struggle in the typically hot dry days of August.  You can see the large fall broccolini patch in the photo of our boulevard plot below.  Our small test patch of broccolini went well so I planted a lot more and we will start harvesting this month. 

One plant you almost can't see on the boulevard anymore is grass!  I am pretty excited about this because, well, I can't sell grass or eat grass.   What's worse is that maintaining even just the small portion of boulevard grass in good order was requiring my time, and that time is precious in summer so the grass had to go!  In case you're wondering why we didn't just plant more vegetables, a condition of the city in allowing us to use the boulevard is that we leave a meter of space along the road to allow space for pedestrians.  I am sure that designating a walking space also helps keep traffic out of the garden so I am happy to leave it open. 

The method I am using to get rid of the grass is a lot simpler and less labour intensive than the original preparation of the growing beds.  In this case, time is on my side, so I can just cover the grass thoroughly and wait.  There is no need for the use of dangerous sprays, digging, or even tilling.  If I just stop light from getting to the grass, I will win the battle eventually.  I feel a little lighter looking at this progress already. 

The labour consideration wasn't the only reason I wanted this grass gone.  It also attracted and harboured wireworms.  Wireworms are the larvae of the big black click beetles.  They live in the soil for several years and feed on the roots of carrots, potatoes, and lettuce.  I would love to grow lettuce in this boulevard but I haven't been able to because of the wireworm.  Hopefully, this grass eradication will help change that going forward.


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