One of the worst things in the alley way beds is weed control. The soil is really bad for most plants other than weeds and the weeds tend to be very unpleasant, full of pointy spikes and leaves. A few years ago I tried using weed killer and I not only killed the weeds I killed the soil and that only invited in more weeds. So for the last 2 years I have used Black Walnut leaves as a “killer mulch” in the worst areas. Oh I still have some weeds but the weeds are the broadleaf type and not all pointy and annoying like puncture vine/goatheads.
I have added some wood mulch and two plants that seem to grow great in poor soil and with little water. Sunchokes have done great and while they can spread they grow/spread slowly. I planted Sunchokes three years ago and all the plant has done is got a bit thicker and bushy. The roots/Rhizomes are still localized and not taking over the alley way area. Low growing sedums planted and add a bit of wood mulch to retain water. I planted sedum for the first time last year and half of the plants came back this year. Not to bad for a plant that is subject to getting driven over and growing in poor soil with very little water other than rain.
The alley way beds are a work in progress of eliminating the nastiest weeds first! That includes adding mulch and plant that I want that grow in poor soil conditions. I’m also adding wood mulch to start to help with both water retention and as a sort of ground cover that prevents some if not all weeds. While this is not a perfect system I have had very few goat heads or cheat grass to deal with in my my beds despite the fact some of my neighbors have very thick “nasty” weeds. The best way to stop weeds is to improve the soil and add plants that you want that don’t give weeds a place to grow.
We are trying out some Balsam oil sachets with out mouse infestation of the basement. While still early days it seems that the mice do not like the Balsam oil Sachets and the mice don’t always go outside to to escape the odor. The mice do seem to be concentrated in my food storage area and while I “dropped the ball” on some of my food storage protocols, but most of my long term food storage is safe from mice.
Prepper porn often consists of shelving units and there is a reason for that! The SHTF has not happened but I have a darn annoying mouse problem. Gosh can you imagine how much worse it could be if trash is not removed for a few months? Work on fixing your problems now when you can access to stores or even “vermin control” you can call in if needed.
Last but not least, learn from others mistakes especially mine own. Don’t beat yourself up if you let a few item slide. We are all learning stuff and we all make mistakes. At this time we are afforded time to live and learn.