Saturday, I sprayed the interior area of the walled garden with a 3% solution of the citric acid spray. It did a fair job on some weeds, didn’t do much to the grass or other weeds. Yesterday, I upped the game to 9% and sprayed again. The area is mostly browned off now with only some grass still showing some green. This morning, I shoved what was left of last year’s chicken run bale of hay over with the tractor bucket, I couldn’t get it in the bucket by myself to just drive it over. That bale is rotted on the side that was on the ground and so moldy that a cloud of mold spores erupts when part is pulled off. It seemed like the perfect solution to hold the cardboard down and be a layer to compost under leaf mulch or soil. Early in the spring, when it appeared that between DIL who started the wall began a full time job a while ago and COVID, that they wouldn’t be able to come this year to work on the house and the wall, so I began rock stacking to make her wall higher in low places and thicker in thin places and while doing so, I tossed smaller rocks up into a pile where the patio will eventually go.
I talked to my son about whether I should load them in the tractor bucket and relocate them to a rock pile and his suggestion was to use them along the edge of the cardboard or weed mat that would go down before soil was added and to build up the wall on the lower back edge at a slope. This morning, all of the cardboard that was left after doing the garden was hauled out to that space, boxes opened flat and i began below the retaining wall where the garden will be deepest and will house the herbs that might survive the winter if kept warmed by the stones. There, I can drape heavy plastic from retaining wall to garden wall to create a mini greenhouse in the coldest part of winter and perhaps the rosemary and thyme will survive there. When I ran out of cardboard, I had enough weed mat left over to do two strips of it as well. As I went, I gathered the smaller rocks again and stacked them against the back of the wall on the cardboard.
The area that has been covered was given a layer of spoiled hay to help hold it down and to begin breaking down.
The area shaded by the retaining wall is the deepest part. It receives full sun in the afternoon year round.
You can see the edge of the weed mat to the right of my shadow. It goes up to the top of the retaining wall and I’m in a shallower, flatter area now. It is hard to tell where the killed off grass ends and the spoiled hay begins.
Looking down from the deck, you can see the gorgeous heavy stone retaining wall that Son 1 and DIL built (without heavy equipment mind you) and how the garden wall wraps around to it. That area beyond the retaining wall was steep and difficult to mow. The double crook hanging pole is in the flat lawn level area. The round concrete pier in the lower left corner was where the old deck extended and all of the stones remaining and in the garden wall were under the part of the deck that did not get replaced. The pier is going to hold one end of an arbor and the patio will be between it and the house.
The outer pier can be seen here, where the path/patio has been started and you can see there is still a significant pile of smaller rock to be used or moved. Behind the end of the grill and in an area that will become part of the patio, there are bearded Iris, Dutch Iris, and a tall plant that has yellow flowers that used to be along the edge of the old deck. They will have to be moved soon. What is remaining of the hay bale can be seen in the yard, there is enough to finish the job if I can get cardboard or weed mat and some of that rock pile will go along the back of the wall.
Progress has been made. Now to finish it and get leaf mulch or composted soil to top the spoiled hay so that I can plant the garden. The patio will have to wait until the hay is down and I can get to the many rock piles with the tractor to bring large flat rocks up. The cracks will be filled with pea gravel or sand and the area will be easier to maintain, a practical space, and a joy to look at. It may need a second Hummingbird feeder for the back and an umbrella for the table so I can sit out there and enjoy it.