10 Jul 2012 2 Comments
After a rather distressing spring, I’ve been solarizing my garden, row by row, bed by bed. The last straw was my beautiful sunflowers. Strong and sturdy, yet they were no match for the underground beasts. So as I harvested each row, I laid down heavy black paper, secured with anchor pins–not the best choice for Florida summer storms, but we’ll discuss that later. The important point here is to rid my soil of varmints.
And I do mean varmints. Lost my squash, my zucchini (to both above ground pests and below), then my peppers and sunflowers. Even my garlic weren’t stellar, though I can’t imagine how they suffered underground. Sad any way you look at it.
But I shan’t despair! (Been listening to Gone with The Wind–yes, still–so my verbage may shift between past and present.) I shall rid my garden of every last beast if it’s the last thing I do. I’ve got a fall garden to think about and I WON’T put it off until tomorrow. I need to think about it today!
So I have a plan. I’m covering every last row with heavy black paper and using the power of the Florida sun to cook the beasts out of hiding. If they want to survive, anyway, they’ll have to “abandon garden.” Solarize is the technical term for what I’m doing. Basically this means to cover your beds with plastic paper–I’m going with hot black–and leave it in place for six weeks. The heat gathering beneath the paper will cook the soil and whatever is underground will cease and desist. Simple, eh?
I do love simple. What I don’t love is doing things over and over which is what I had to do because my anchor pins were not sturdy enough to keep my paper in place. Every afternoon round about 4:00pm, the clouds would gather, the temps would dip, the winds would blow and there went my paper–across the yard, twirled and tangled…
You name it. Everywhere but where it was supposed to be. So I decided to go heavy-duty and dumped bricks and old tiles, rolls of 9 gauge wire and even piles of sand onto my paper to keep it in place. It’s not pretty but it is effective. And I’d rather have effective than pretty.
Additionally, my darling husband has offered to re-till my rows for me next month by adding a handy contraption to his tractor that will do the trick. Wunderbar! Imagine what would take me days to complete with a broken back to show for my trouble, he’ll be able to manage in a matter of hours, if that. Gotta love technology!
Then, I’ll re-line my walking rows with this heavy-duty paper (the other eventually tears, rips and disintegrates) and we’ll be in business once again. And I’m itchin’ to get back out there. Not until it cools off, mind you, but itchin’ just the same.