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Area heavily planted with bulbs

 
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Here in the northern hemisphere, in the bottom of a valley today I've noticed that the spot right outside my east facing kitchen door is in full midday sun from the south. I think with a little tinkering on an oak tree to the south of this spot (raising the canopy), I can ensure reasonable sunlight through the year when that is in leaf too, at least until the sun passes behind the house in the mid afternoon. The spot is a raised bed, with a stone edge and around 23x6.5ft - 150sqft and as far as I know that soil is pretty well undisturbed.

This is prime zone 1 veg garden territory and is as close to my door as I can get. Installed by the previous owners, its right there for the taking, but it is currently heavily planted with annuals and decorative plants. We've watched over the year and seen many plants come up and die away again. It looks to me to have been designed for colour out the door, throughout the year. But it is very, very heavily planted.

I'm hoping someone might have some ideas on how I might be able to kill off whats here, without having to dig out every bulb and disturb the soil? Sheet mulch and hope for the best? Or is just getting a spade in and building soil up from there the best way forward?

I'm also well aware that given the nooks and crannys available in a stone pile border, this could well become a slug hotel and planting vegetables will be a menu that they will be keen to try... I'm trying to start small, so adding ducks or similar would be moving me into more complex and time consuming systems that I can reasonably operate right now. Should the slug concern (and no doubt voles, other pests - we already have rabbits and squirrels running rampant here) be enough to tell me that this zone 1 annual food garden is not a good use of the space?

Much appreciated.
 
pollinator
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Location: Southern Oregon
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It would help if I knew where you were in the northern hemisphere. Digging up bulbs is the best way to remove them, some of them are very long lasting and they clumps will get larger. Annuals and decorative plants should be fairly easy to remove. If you are worrying about other pests, herbs might work better than vegetables and it's so nice to have herbs close by. But if you are in fire country, like I am, some herbs like rosemary are not recommended too close to the house.
 
Mj Lacey
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Stacy Witscher wrote:It would help if I knew where you were in the northern hemisphere. Digging up bulbs is the best way to remove them, some of them are very long lasting and they clumps will get larger. Annuals and decorative plants should be fairly easy to remove. If you are worrying about other pests, herbs might work better than vegetables and it's so nice to have herbs close by. But if you are in fire country, like I am, some herbs like rosemary are not recommended too close to the house.



Thats a fair point! UK.

Digging them out I can do - its just such a high volume that I essentially need to dig over the whole bed to 'find' them.
 
gardener
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Location: Ontario - Gardening in zone 3b, 4b, or 6b, depending on the day
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Depending on the bulb type (usually tulips, daffodils, snow drops, and crocuses), I might just leave them where they are for early spring colour, and plant amongst them. If over time, they die back - no worries, you didn't want them anyway. I often plant food annuals and later season perennials among spring bulbs, since I never remember to mark bulb locations.

Unwanted later season things I would lop off at the surface when they erupt with gardening shears, and then dig out if they are very persistent.

If you are determined to remove them, may I suggest that a good digging fork would be easier than a spade for removing roots and keeping the soil in the bed where it belongs.
 
gardener
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Location: St Paul, MN/Tularosa, NM and now a gapper at Wheaton Labs
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People love bulbs. If you give them away for free, I'm sure someone would be happy to dig them out for you.
 
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