More than a month has passed since our last blog entry. Most of our gardens have been captured by weeds requiring a great amount of work to find the ground. Overnight frost followed by clear skies created an environment conducive to outdoor work today and we spent two hours working outside. When Becky returned to the house with her garden cart in tow, two snakes were soaking up the sunshine in the curved stone lined path to the basement door. The one at ground level quickly disappeared into the stone wall while this more mature snake remained motionless higher up on the wall. Becky was able to scoot by and get her camera without moving this snake. We gladly share our homesite with them since they eat varmints that feast on our garden plants.
In the center of this sea of weeds lies a painstakingly prepared bed of rich garden soil. Removing the entire weed has been our goal. Considerable time and effort has been expended clearing weeds from this sixty square foot section of a planting bed. Working only with hand tools has required many days to get to this point. I use a four tined spade to loosen small clumps of weeds. Then a hand held cultivator is inserted to pull free small clumps of weeds and their roots. The surface of the bed looks great but we know that persistent evil lurks just under the soil surface.
Quack grass is the most evil weed weed here. This entire plant mass remained buried in soil that I had painstakenly cleared. Only the small green shoots hinted that not all of the plant had been removed. Working carefully in the loosened soil, this monster was removed in tact. Experience has taught us that despite our application of careful persistence, more of these missed weed pieces will grow alongside of our soon to be planted garlic.
One of the issues that makes gardening difficult is the down side of growing older. In my wilder younger days much time was spent building dry stone walls. That could be the cause of the arthritis that has settled in my spine right at belt level. This morning's use of a long handled potato hook on already loosened soil set that section of my spine ablaze. Using the cold grass from last night's frost and removing the need for my spine to support my upper body sent the pain packing. Becky did not return to find me on the ground. After she returned I told her that a ground bed might help. It did but when the pain disappeared, she spoke in favor of the end of today's outside work. We will try again tomorrow.