This time last year, there were portions of our yard that were either completely barren or choked with weeds, and as we get everything into shape we are developing strategies for keeping everything from getting out of control.
We have a handful of persistent and pretty common weeds: English Ivy, Dandelions, Hawkweed… Our efforts last year to get the ivy in check worked out pretty well, this summer its the dandelions that we are after in earnest. The goal here isn’t necessary to eradicate them from the yard, but to take them out before they go to seed. So the process has been to make rounds and pull a bucket full of plants and hopefully this will allow room for things we want to grow next spring.
Our eventual goal is to fill our yard with plants. Really, if you can support a dandelion then there is unused resource in your yard. Not that we won’t get weeds encroaching in our yard, but if we can get a critical density of natives and food we hope to be able to out compete them. Case in point - the above photo: it is our polyculture garden out back which is totally packed with lettuce, cabbage and radishes. It will evolve over the summer, but the density has made it relatively trouble free and has been producing crazy amounts of food for just twenty square feet.
Part of the key to making all this work is that we need lots of plants. This last winter, we started several lupine from seed (top picture) that are now doing quite well in the yard with the hope that they will be large by next year. So this year we have invested in a large amount of seed that we plan on sowing this fall as well as starting a few plug trays indoors to try to get as much established as we can. Hopefully this will also allow us to get a very diverse set of natives (if anyone knows of a good source of seed for native alliums or paintbrush, let me know) established in our meadow out front.