Here’s my latest little project working on a dam wall. Nice and steep so I can fall over a lot. Looks pretty hideous, I know. 2 years ago, it was wall to wall weeds. There was so much stuff, I just had to drop and kill. 2 years later and I was able to break stuff up to make it a bit tidier and plant some trees. Then we had a record heat wave and I’m not sure how many survived. It must rain soon.
What a lovely Fathers Day. All weeds were granted a stay of execution to mark the specialness of the day. The Responsible Adult and I went down to ‘La Studio’ and played for a while. Apart from that, I read and am now awaiting a dinner cooked by baby Ben and his main squeeze Marigold. So I thought I would reminisce with a before and after photo of the little gully at the bottom of the Paddock.
|The before (if you hadn’t guessed)|
This is shortly after cleaning out the gully. The felled slash pine is still green. There is a small leaved Privet just in front of Ben that is now gone and to his right is a big mob of Yellow Berry that is a pain to get out (Ten million spikes per square inch) but it’s all gone, gone, gone.
Here’s what it looks like now:
|6 years ago – similar to the area I’m working now. See what it looks like today at the end of this blog.|
I’m still weeding. ‘Bravo, my Prince -what commitment!’ you say. Well, while there is no doubt that Paddock workers will never, ever finish weeding forever, there are ways to greatly reduce the numbers of weeds. Weeding should only happen in areas where you want something else to grow. Otherwise, mow, pave or build a chook house in that area.
|Really Rough Mulch – weeds|
The great gardener Peter Cundall was once asked if grass clippings were OK to mulch plants. His reply was that any mulch is better than no mulch.
|Rough Mulch – mainly Bougainvillea|
Mulch protects against weed regrowth while breaking down and feeding the soil around the plants you want to grow.
Nothing that grows on the Paddock leaves the Paddock. Everything gets recycled into the soil. The roughest mulch I use around plants are those very weeds that are pulled up. Living in Maleny means that the plants growing in the cubby house paddock need pruning very regularly. All prunings’ are taken down to the rainforest re-vegetation sites and mulched around plantings.
|Chipped mulch from Energex|
If you prefer neat and tidy, then mulch from a commercial chipper can be purchased. My preferred supplier is Energex who trim trees away from the power lines every 2 or 3 years. These guys will let you have the mulch and are happy to receive a small donation to a charity in return. Or, you can buy mulch from commercial tree trimmers in your area. If you have deep pockets you can buy hardwood chips from commercial landscapers.
Even so, it’s all work, work, work. But is there a payoff?
The ultimate goal in all this is an area that requires zero maintenance (almost). This amazing feat occurs when your plantings shade and crowd out competitors.
The image below illustrates an area that was totally weeded out with lantana, privet, camphor, yellow berry and so on. Once cleared and planted, it required high maintenance from herbaceous weeds for about four years. Now that it has a canopy and lots of leaf litter, I weed twice a year. About 2 hours each time mainly wandering around looking for the odd privet tree or moth vine to pull out.It is the same part of the paddock as the photo heading this blog.
|This area is now pretty much weed free and a joy to visit.|