Reclaim an Old Garden

Perhaps you have a neglected garden and now have time to give it some attention. Or you may have just moved into a new home where the garden is a bit overgrown. Both circumstances offer great opportunities for growing your own food. The first thing is not to get overwhelmed by the project; take it one day at a time. If the area is new to you, find out what you can about the garden before you start cutting back and chopping things down. Ask the neighbors. Look through old newspapers, property records, or photographs to see what the space may have looked like in the past. If the area is just a little bit neglected and you know what has been grown in the past, take some time to reassess the situation and plan what you want to do before starting to clean up.

Once you are ready to start clearing the area, work on one section at a time, unless you have to rent equipment such as a chainsaw by the hour or day to clear the area. Clearing one area at a time will give you a greater sense of accomplishment. Take your time so you do not cut back more plants and vegetation than is necessary.

If your garden is overrun with poison ivy, rake it out. Use a sturdy rake and carefully tug at the ivy. Most of it will come right up, roots and all. When you are done, rinse the rake to get rid of any plant oils. Wash your hands well, especially if they have come into contact with the ivy or the bottom of the rake. If you used gloves, throw them into the laundry so as not to spread any residue to other areas of your garden.

Once you have gotten to the bare bones of the garden, decide on a garden style. Choose a style you like based on the architecture of your home, or what the original garden may have looked like. This is a great time for drawing up a design on paper so you can decide what it is you want and whether or not it will fit in the area. Use as much of the existing structures as you can both to save money and to stay true to the time period of your home. Now start planting, relaxing, and enjoying your renewed space.

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