Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Garden Wars Episode III... The Demise of the Weeds

You know what they say about good intentions and where they lead you... I've had the best of intentions for the last few weeks to finish that blasted garden. My intentions have not however given me the needed inspiration to go and accomplish that.

Today I was looking at plants out in the garden center at work and I decided that nothing would inspire me to finish like having the plants right there sitting next to the garden. So I picked out my tomatoes and herbs, and then Nancy gave me some other starts, zucchini, cucumbers, and delicata squash.

I mentally mapped out a timeline for how it was going to play out when I got home this afternoon. My plan was to get home, change into grubbies, and hit the garden hard. I figured I'd need 2 hours to finish pulling the 1'x2' section of weeds that was left, and then to turn it all over, break it up, and get it ready to plant.

The best laid plans, huh? I got home, and received a message from my sister that completely sidetracked me. So I got stuck on the computer for a few minutes trying to find a new phone for Matt since his is broken, and then I had to boot myself out of the chair before I settled in to an evening of playing games. I changed and gathered up my gloves and tools and headed out there.

I arrived at the garden, and saw to my dismay that my alleged 2 square feet of weeds was actually more like 9 or 10 square feet. I started yanking weeds, digging with the shovel, and hauling them by clumps to my wheelbarrow. (Interesting side note: If you fill a wheelbarrow with weeds and let it sit for 2-3 weeks getting rained on, when you dump it out, it will smell REALLY bad! And the smell will not fade quickly.) I emptied my wheelbarrow and went right back to work getting those insidious weeds out of there.

I made pretty decent time removing the weeds and then started moving on. I picked up my shovel and began turning the dirt over in big clumps. When I was about halfway through turning the garden over a thought occurred to me. "I'm going to have to break these big clumps up somehow." At this point, I started seriously considering hopping in the truck, driving back to Blaine, and getting a tiller from the store. I finished turning the ground over, and then surveyed my arsenal of gardening tools. My eyes landed upon our trusty hoe and I grabbed it. I began taking out all my aggressions of late on these clumps of dirt.

Actually Obnoxious Binocular Lady should be given credit for about a quarter of my garden. I just kept recalling things that ticked me off and put them into each swing of the hoe. By the time I was 2/3 of the way through the garden, my hoe was broken. I went to the shed and looked to see if we had another one, but we didn't. I did find a digging bar.

Again, I must digress a bit... my eyesight is truly truly terrible without corrective lenses. However, and I didn't need my eye doctor to confirm this diagnosis, my hindsight is 20/20!

Ok, back to my garden... I took the 6' digging bar out to the garden and decided to break up the clumps with that. It's a very effective tool at breaking up ground, but if you have 2 bad shoulders, you might want to use a different tool to break up giant clumps of dirt. After about 3 clumps my shoulders were protesting loudly and calling me names not fit to repeat. I decided that perhaps stopping to put the head of the hoe back into the handle every couple minutes wasn't so inconvenient after all.

I finished hoeing the ground and looked at it again. There were still small clumps everywhere. I was starting to get a little discouraged and I looked once again to my tools. I picked up the Garden Weasel and told it that it was my only hope. I started Garden Weaseling the area, and found to my delight that it's a wonderful tool and it broke up the little clumps and had the previously hard-packed weed-infested ground looking like a tilled garden with reasonably little effort.

I then grabbed my rake and gave the whole garden a once-over to remove any straggling clumps of weeds and grass. Finally the moment I'd been longing for had arrived, it was time to plant!!

In fairly short order I had 4 tomato plants in their cages, 2 cucumber plants nestled in their spots, the squash happily ensconced near the strawberries, and the zucchini (after deciding that it needed to move from one end of the garden to the other) planted in a spot where it hopefully will not stage a hostile takeover of the strawberries.

I emptied my pots of the detritus of last years herbs, and the weeds that had happily planted themselves in there. Then I mixed up the dirt and planted my herbs. I grabbed my Preen weed preventer and my Sluggo slug killer, and liberally applied both to the garden.

As I was planting my tomatoes I was thinking of the movie Steel Magnolias where "Wheezer" grows tomatoes even though she hates them because she's a Southern woman and that's what she's supposed to do. I don't really like tomatoes unless they are turned into something else, and yet here I'm growing them in large quantities. Then I remembered the night my mother forced me to eat zucchini and my poor sister ended up cleaning up the projectile vomit that ensued. I had to laugh at myself for growing things in my garden that I not only dislike, but that in fact make me vomit. I do love zucchini bread though, so that's how I'm rationalizing my decision.

I decided to call it a night, after less than my allotted 2 hours had elapsed. But I had to convince myself that I will return on Thursday to try to get the last of the weeds that have woven themselves into the strawberries.

I've got them on the ropes now, I've got to strike while the iron is hot...

All I can say tonight is that I'm truly grateful that the Good Lord in his infinite mercy created Trader Joe's and 2 Buck Chuck!

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