Sage in bed

Sorting a garden nuisance

Clearing the beds

It was 82F in the shade when I came back to the house. I am not sure what that is in C and I am too hot to check. I have been in my garden from 7:00am till 9:00am. Well, the part that has a few vegetables. We have 2 acres more or less of stone, rocks, trees, poor soil and areas where we have spent years improving the ground.

I tend to ignore our early attempt at raised beds as they aren’t working that well. But this morning I decided to tackle a couple of strawberry beds. I hesitate to call them strawberry beds as they both have half a dozen stressed out plants, that I water and hope will survive. One bed has been used as a cat toilet. I regularly remove the poo and stay annoyed which does not help me.

So this morning at 7:30ish, I covered the beds with mulch and with the help of Jim we installed some hoops on one bed and stakes on the other. We finished off with netting.

Carob Mulch
Carob leaf mulch and my feet

The mulch is a mixture of olive tree leaves and carob leaves. We collect them from under the trees and put them in buckets to use during the year to mulch fruit trees mostly. I could use green waste, weeds etc, but we put such matter in the compost bins. The fallen leaves we treasure for mulch. We have two hot bins and about six regular black bins. More about the hot bins and our composting successes and failures another time. I decided to not mix the carob with the olive to see which the plants prefer. Always experimenting. Note to self write it down what you are doing.
So back to the hoops. We purchased the hoops about ten years ago from Leroy Merlin, but it could have been somewhere else as my memory is not always reliable. Mostly we use them on the big metal vegetable beds (they are like Birdies beds which you can’t buy in Portugal). Since watching the videos of Australian gardener self sufficient me we purchased some metal beds in Portugal which have increased our vegetable yield massively.

Yes, back to the hoops. Jim put a piece of wood into each end of a broken hoop and voila, we now have a workable hoop. We bent a couple more hoops and then covered them with netting. You could probably use a stiff old leaky water hose if it is cut into sections, but these hoops go easily into the ground. I have not tested if an old hose would do the trick. Please let me know if it works for you.

Fixing the hoops
Fixing the broken hoop
Laying the hoops

The mulch settled easily around the strawberries and I am now thinking of putting in some basil and other herbs that will survive the hot sun. In the first strawberry bed there is also tall, white smudging sage. You can’t eat it. I grow it because I love the deep, heady smell and it looks after itself with some occasional watering. I didn’t mulch or cover the sage. It seems happy enough. The beds are next to a huge olive tree which is where we mostly get the olive mulch leaves. The other strawberry bed has two fine Vetiver plants that need to be moved this year. I will share my Vetiver experience in another post. Vetiver looks after itself too with very little water. It breaks up the soil with its long tufted roots.

Rocks for holding the netting
Vetiver and netting held down by rocks

I have for a few years put netting over the metal vegetable beds as I don’t want too many olives leaves ending up in those beds. Netting also stops, cats, rabbits and some white cabbage butterfly. The snails seem to get in but I remove them by hand. Although, my nasturtiums, which I grow so I can use the flowers in salad, I sometimes battle caterpillars. Soft and easy to lift off, I usually put them in the top of an uncovered compost bin with fresh green waste so they can help decompose what is there.

Everyday I am finding the circle of life in the garden. As I give even more attention to what the plants want and need, I see better results.
I may do an update on which mulch works or helps the plants. I am happy now the cats will no longer use this space as a toilet.

As I went back to water this evening, a cat was sitting near the beds and walked slowly off. It didn’t seem angry or perturbed. That’s one of the beauties of nature there is always somewhere else, something more and another opportunity to connect, learn and grow. The next project is the water butts.

Olive Tree with potting counter shed
One of our olive trees with covered potting counter and long vegetable bed
Strawberry Bed with netting
Cleared beds


Similar Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *