Trench Warfare

IMG_3951 smWe have precious few trees on our property, maybe a dozen in total, all clinging to the fence lines, out of the way.

Except that they’re not out of the way, really. Though they only cast brief shade on the vegetable garden, their roots encroach well into the garden. I know exactly where a tree has stretched its toes out by the swath of dead and dying vegetables, and the parched earth that accompanies them. Last year, I lost most of my zucchinis and an entire row of strawberries to the trees’ depredations.

I can pull some of the roots out when I’m weeding, but many invade deep in the soil.

So we resort to trench warfare to keep them out.

Every three or four years, we hire a trencher from the local equipment hire place (well, okay, my husband hires the trencher—I stay away from loud petrol-powered machines as much as possible), and dig a metre-deep trench all around the garden.

It makes an enormous difference to the vegetables—I can almost hear them breathe a sigh of relief when the tree roots are cut. The roots grow back, eventually, but the trench gives us a few years to garden without competition.