August 31, 2018
Since last winter's train wreck, the Windward gardens fell into disrepair this year. The new interns (Liz and myself) along with Kiri, Windward's Assistant Steward Director, decided to try reclaiming this fallow resource during our late-summer work parties. Kiri had no previous experience gardening, and neither Liz and Hannah were confident in their ability to take on a project of this scale. However, with collaborative thinking and my previous extensive research into small scale market gardening, we came up with a plan.
The first task was to decide how large of an area we wanted to take on. We decided that a small portion of the lower gardens was a great place to put our plan to the test. Four of the straightest and most level beds were selected to be tended.
laying down cardboard to suppress the weeds
Kiri used a concrete settling tool to break and squish all of the existing weeds into a flat mulch, whilst Hannah, Liz and Nadia laid out cardboard weighed down with a few rocks and straw to cover the weeds. The goal was to get all of the weed seed heads down onto the ground so that they can't disperse their seeds farther, then mulch over them so that the weed seeds won't germinate in the spring.
When spring does roll around, the plan is to stay on top of weed control via daily weeding and to add an additional layer of mulch made from whatever resources are available. Crops can then be planted through the mulch, and through holes in the cardboard, in an attempt to keep the weed seeds suppressed.
By using no till methods and thorough mulching, the hope is to reduce the workload next spring. Now I need to figure out how to deal with the voles who created havoc in the garden this year!