Friday, November 13, 2009

How do I clear out my garden and start from scratch?

I live on the hill and have a long driveway. At the top, I have a retaining wall that's about 3 and a half feet high. Past the wall, the garden is at about a 45 degree angle for about six feet (~20 feet across), then the ground levels out into my yard/grass. The garden is completely overgrown with weeds, poison ivy, etc. Normally I would just take the lawn mower to it and mow everything down, but due to the angle, I won't be able to easily get at it with a lawn mower.

I can't seem to figure out what the best way to attack it is. I don't want to just dive in and start pulling because I'll be up to my elbows in poison ivy, spiders and possible snakes.

Any ideas would be helpful.

How do I clear out my garden and start from scratch?
I'd borrow a couple goats from the neighbors and let them have at it for a week or two, then do a cut and fill terrace and solarize.

No goats? Apply a good layer of poison ivy barrier cream like Ivy Block or Onguard to all exposed skin. Wearing long sleeved shirt, long pants, gloves, and with a sweat rag tied around your forehead if it's a warm day, start at the driveway with loppers and work across, bundling the materials for composting. DO NOT BURN PI!!! It can, however, be safely composted.

Then continue with cut and fill and solarization. Intermediate retaining walls may be needed.
Reply:When I feel the need to redesign, I just give everything a good spraying with some Roundup. That will kill everything. Let everything dry out and you should be able to rake it up with no problem a couple of weeks after application. There is also a product called MSMA that will take care of the greenery AND the insects. Not too sure about the snakes...does a neighbor have a cat you can borrow for a few days before getting out in your garden? That will definately help run the snakes away! I know many don't like to use chemicals in their gardens, but this is the most effective and quickest way to handle the problem other than some good old elbow grease! I have a friend who swears by burning his garden back, but he is a bit of a pyro and there are often local laws that prohibit such.Good Luck!
Reply:Check in your local paper for people who will do this for you for a flat rate...and they will take it away as well. Rubbish removal I believe its called...
Reply:The best is... calling in a gardener and a garden designer
Reply:I am not fond of chemical herbicides. I would chop down what you can ( wear gloves to avoid the poison ivy ) and then finish clearing with a suffle hoe. Scuffle hoes churn up the earth just below the surface and clear the weed roots out. Then either put down some landscape cloth and mulch or re-plant with the materials of your choice.
Reply:I have a similar problem hillside and to clear it we used a gas powered string cutter. Wear long pants tucked into your socks and good gripping boots, hubby wore long sleeves and a mask, too. We cut it down as low as we could with the trimmer and then used a weed killer on the little bits that were left. Once everything up there was dead, we used that handy dandy garden weasel to churn up the earth and planted bouganvillea, acacia, some trees and oleander up there. Now we apply pre-emergent weed and feed to keep it free of weeds about every three months. It is my intention to haul mulch up there once we recover from the clearing and planting...
Reply:Suggested first step is get rid of the poison ivy with round-up.

If workable, you might want to consider terracing the 45 degree slope.
Reply:the best thing to do is to spay everything with roundup then once it is all dead remove the dead plants just remember that roundup will kill anything it touches it is a nonselective herbicide
Reply:You really do need someone to come in there with a design. Make sure they design your yard so mowing will not be a problem. Get two or three free designs and estimates.

If you don't need the lawn, how about a beautiful large patio. The designer will level the ground for you. Get two or three estimates for this.

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