A few years ago (2 blogathons ago, to be precise), I wrote about trying to reclaim a bed in my backyard, one below a stone wall/rocky outcropping sort of place. The bed was filled perennial weeds, and I despaired of ever planting anything there.
Alex, however, had a solution, and he told me that if I put down several layers of cardboard or newspaper and put new topsoil on top of it. I could have my bed back. Well, for the past two years I've done just that. And on the one hand, it's meant that the bed was only partly, instead of entirely, filled with weeds. On the other, no flower I planted there ever did particularly well. It's cool and damp and on the shady side, and even part-shade annuals weren't very happy.
I was fretting over this and fretting at the memory of the neighbor's cat lying down on top of my newly planted greens last year (immortalized, for eternity, in haiku form) when I had one of those AHA moments. Flowers might not like the cool and shady and damp conditions in the stone wall bed, but lettuce certainly would. Why couldn't I put the lettuce and spinach and chard in a place that the greens would like but the cat might not? I considered the fact that I might just be a genius, and then I set to planting.
Admittedly, the cool wet weather of the past few weeks is the kind of weather lettuce likes. But still, fingers crossed, the experiment seems to be working! If I see the neighbor's cat near there, though, I may have to take that back.