Sunday, June 5, 2011

Reclaiming the Alley from the Weeds: A Lazy Lasagna Garden

In our community there are fairly low expectations as to the state of the alleys. There are attempts by folks to monitor the garbage and weeds, some even call bylaw on major offenders. I must admit that sometimes I'm a major offender. Weeds out there are out of sight and out of mind. Our eco-station garbage has been known to stay 'hidden' "out-back" over months of procrastinating a jaunt to the eco-station. 

I decided the only way to start caring was to do some intentional planting. In the past, I've had poppies and borage growing wild.  And while it's pretty in July when everything flowers, I can't say it generated more enthusiasm for me to weed or de-clutter. 

So last weekend I cleared a small, quack-grass haunted patch by the garbage hutch and did a lasagna garden (for more details on this method check out this post). Be warned, its a lazy one where I decided not to bother with layering each item more than once! 

The square that may finally get me weeding in the alley.
For vertical interest, I'm banking on wild Hops. I transplanted these roots last year and thankfully the vine rises again.

The "Stick" of a bare root hazelnut tree (which I wrote about receiving here). Two weeks after this picture was taken, it is leafing out.

A Calgary Creeping Juniper, I am hoping that this great ground cover will soon choke out (some of) the weeds,  that it will spill out over the box and onto the grass towards the road.  At only a foot high, it can spread 6- 8 feet and has a great blue-green foliage.
I planted the perennials first then laid out thick sections of The Edmonton Journal. This will act to keep the weeds down for at least a couple summers. By then, hopefully, the other plants have established themselves enough to fight the weeds back.

I then soaked the paper thoroughly with water.
I then covered the paper with a couple different composts (sheep and cow), and over that laid a thick layer of grass clippings (not pictured!). Along the border of the bed I transplanted marigolds that self seeded in my square foot gardens. Around the base of the tree, I transplanted golden flax started in April in my garden boxes.

It doesn't look like much now- but I'll be sure to post a picture at the end of season; I promise not to weed it simply for the sake of the picture! I'm committed to a little alleyway aesthetic, just forgive me my eco-station procrastination!

1 comment:

Evelyn in Canada said...

I did a lazy version of the lasagna method as well this year. My fear is that the thin layer won't suffocate the weeds quite as well, but so far it's looking good after a month. Good luck! Any improvement to an alley is worth the effort.