Gardening has been tough this summer. We experienced a few weeks of hot and dry weather, followed by more seasonal temperatures and rain. For a while there the plot looked good. Weeds had been eliminated, green beans were racing up the trellises, tomatoes and pepper plants were growing and setting flowers. During the dry period twice a week I would stop by to water the plants sometimes with The Spouse in tow, who would promptly be put to work. Mostly he watered while I pulled weeds. The plot across from ours was sad and neglected and I spent quite some time pulling their weeds. After all, weeds set seed and blow in all directions, resulting in weeds sprouting everywhere including in our veggie plot.
A week of hot and dry weather allowed our vegetable garden to dry up a bit. No longer does a freshly dug hole fill up with water almost instantly. The few bales of hay which were pulled apart and laid down to cover the paths successfully prevented weeds, while also keeping the mud off our shoes while working around the beds. But with the sunshine, weeds sprouted almost magically overnight in the vegetable beds. Since you do not want weeds to compete with the vegetables for nutrients or water it was time for some good old fashioned hand weeding. Down on hands and knees each weed was pulled out; hopefully with root and all. After all, some weeds have the ability to re-sprout from the smallest piece of root left behind in the soil, making life so much harder on the gardener.
As a member of Boro Green, an initiative for sustainable living, I volunteered to handle the vegetable garden at the Duke’s Community garden. Only a few miles from our house, the community garden offers gardeners a plot to grow their own food and flowers. While the community garden was set to open in early April, the weather did not cooperate and they opened the last Saturday in April instead.