Twitch Grass Meditation – Yeah, that’s it.

Today was quite something.

It is now May 4th, hot sunny, spring-time May 4th. That means apple trees should be planted (very soon, if not) already. But, you see, I haven’t planted mine just yet, which is okay. I’ve been going around the three sites and getting them prepped. Iceland Teaching garden is going well – needs a bit of hoe’ing, but otherwise all set. Ignatius garden plot will be tilled by May 18th. Nice!

My stress comes into play because I need to get woodchips delivered, have plants delivered, do base-line (initial) sampling of soils, and pick up the apple trees and get them planted. Then! Then there is the site at the Guelph Center for Urban Organic Farming…

Twitch Grass Meditation: The site is covered with Twitch Grass, which for some farmers is the bane of their existence. Pretty dramatic, but if you’ve dealt with it you know how this stuff can be. So, I prepared myself first before jumping into preparing the site. Switching that mindset so that I understand the challenges ahead and invite in the positive thoughts, for example: that really good sandwich I had yesterday or perhaps those fried olives with almond alio from the Ox. Mmmm. This is a really great exercise to practice when doing challenging things. Try it out 😉

Twitch Grass

This (below) is the site at GCUOF looking N/E. Lots of twitch grass. I’ve marked out every 15 feet with flags and they represent the borders of each experimental unit (or plot). In the middle of each of these plots there will be an apple tree. Some of the plots will have an understory of diverse plants with woodchips and others will have only grass. Then, we have a second factor of compost added or no compost added…just to make it complicated.


Below is a picture showing a cleaned out spot for where the tree is going to go. Made sure that it was thoroughly forked of twitch grass roots so that they hopefully wont be poking back up from within the circle.


Next I piled straw on top of the bare soil. This is temporary so that the soil doesn’t dry out and so that the ‘weeds’ are deterred by lack of sunlight to grow there.


We got 7 finished today. It took me (one person) about 30 minutes to prepare each ‘nest’ or spot for where the tree will go.


Tomorrow, two Workerbees are coming out to help! Really looking forward to some help, which will make this twitch grass shiver with fear!

Pictures to come 🙂

Thanks for reading!

-Paul Lion


2 thoughts on “Twitch Grass Meditation – Yeah, that’s it.

  1. Nice attitude 🙂 I suspect everywhere has some version of a Twitch grass. Here in our region it’s Kikuyu. Our Waiheke Food Forest project will have to confront this once the site is decided and ready to prepare.

    We’re taking a Food Forest establishment approach Andy Cambeis has pioneered and written about, which involves total eradication of grasses, that are then quickly replaced by a benign and beneficial ground cover, being the the lowest above-ground-layer of a seven layer food forest system.

    We’ll be looking carefully at how we go about this, but the two most likely options we’ll choose from are:

    Ploughing to turn the grass under (ploughs were designed for this purpose), and if there is not a significant difference in soil types in the depth the plough will work there is minimal (and relatively short term) loss of soil life as a result. This would be followed by heavy seeding of ground cover and attention over the coming months, to removing any remaining weed grasses that re-establish.

    Sheet mulching of carefully placed (to ensure thorough coverage) cardboard followed by a thick layer of mature wood mulch. This may also require a light layer of finer mulch into which the ground cover could be seeded.

    I’m keen to hear how you get on.

    Manual for Creating a Community Food Forest on Public Land –

    • Hello I live in kikuyu hell, I actually had to use some chemicals very reluctantly because we cannot keep on top of the dreaded kikuyu (although there are some newly released organic herbicides that are allegedly up to dealing with kik, the other option is death by hot water or steam). I really am trying to think my way out of it. Locals have used a black plastic moat around their vege garden, bearing in mind that kikuyu can travel underground by quite some distance and pop out the other side. We ended up using black plastic, but I think a pig moat could also work. If you dont eliminate every single bit it just keeps coming back. Reading some fukuoka he recommends using clovers as a smothering ground cover, particularly white clover. GOOD LUCK!!!!

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