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Blogging about gardening in zone 4, marriage, our golden retriever and life in general.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Guerrilla Gardening

We live in one of the many incomplete subdivisions across the US. Our house is on a street that is only about 50% filled in with residences, with the remaining lots unlandscaped in any way. The whole area was farm fields as little as eight years ago and putting in the infrastructure for the subdivision obviously turned up a ton of soil. The result last summer was entire crops of Canadian thistles in every vacant lot.

My plan for dealing with the weeds is twofold. First, I plan on spreading some low maintenance wildflower seeds as soon as the ground is warm enough to be worked. I picked up a packet of Xeriscaping seeds, as well as Rocky Mountain Wildflower seeds, and will spread them and hope for the best. Might as well turn Canadian thistles into wildflowers, right?

The second half of the deal-with-weeds plan is more aggressive. Gallatin County does have a weed ordinance, but as a government worker I felt too sheepish to call in a complaint last summer. Seemed like using my profession to tattle on the neighbor. This year I'm over it. The contractor who built our house owns the two lots to the west of us, and I'll let him know that the noxious weeds are a problem for me. If he doesn't address it, I will get over myself and call the County Weed Control.

I am the granddaughter of farmers. Canadian thistles are a scourge on the earth. If I had my druthers, we'd knock down all the thistles and plant a cover crop on these lots. Clover, barley, hay, natural grasses; just something that will eventually choke out the weeds and be low maintenance. Or we'd do what my parent's subdivision does and rent out the vacant lots to a sheep farmer to bring in his herd to eat down the weeds.

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