Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Blackberry Beds

The final third of the garden is through the rose arch and down to the lowest section.  In very early spring, Bruce and I put in two raised blackberry beds and filled them with our own homegrown compost.  We bought vigorous blackberry roots from a nice man in the Bay Area who I found on Craigslist.
Years ago, composting used to be a more exacting process, but now we just pile up in one big ol' heap all the biodegradable matter that accumulates so readily around here.  Kitchen scraps, leaves, manure, straw cleaned from the chicken coop, the occasional dead rodent and lots and lots of vegetation all gets chucked on the pile.  The animals have a field day scratching through it and, every once in awhile, Bruce fires up the Kubota and turns the mountain to aerate things a bit.  The only rule is that all bad pest weeds that have gone to seed are banned -- these are either burned or hauled to the landfill. Only "good" weeds of my own dear garden plants are allowed.  

The only problem is that, although few "bad" weeds do get through,  all sorts of "good" seeds sprout up all over the place from the garden plants that I toss onto the compost.  With a vengeance and a vigor that is almost frightening, up pop seedlings of all my favorite plants.  And they are in all the wrong places -- which, I believe, technically makes them weeds.  Weeds that are very, very, very hard to pull because I love them all.

And this brings us, painfully, back to those two blackberry beds and the 12 blackberry plants that had all but disappeared under the greenery of "good" weeds. 
Good weeds.  Really!
Let's see, for "weedy" flowers there were California poppies,rare purple poppies, field poppies, columbines, sweet peas, sunflowers, chamomile, bachelor buttons, morning glories, stock, lambs ears, correopsis and hollyhocks.

The weed vegetables were potatoes, chives, artichokes, tomatoes and some sort of squash. 

I'd put off this weeding for as long as I could, but the time had come -- the blackberries were drowning in a sea of everything else.  So yesterday I closed my eyes and ripped out (with a bit of transplanting here and there) piles and piles of good weeds....

...and ended up with this. 

It's so much easier weeding out the noxious weeds -- pulling up my green darlings was hard.  But, in the end, I kept some of every one of my volunteers.  The rest went back into compost.

 And the blackberries are able to see the sun once again.

Life is complicated but good.


  1. Love your raised beds. Makes me what to get busy with mine

  2. Thank you, Donna! I'll say it again -- your own narrow secret garden-in-the-making is what's inspired me to get cracking again. I sat one evening, reading your blog and studying pictures of your progress and thought, "That looks so cool! I sure wish I had a project like that." Then I remembered, woops, I do have a project like that. So I thwapped myself upside the head and commenced hauling rr ties again. :)