Pardon me, but I just came in from the garden…

To discover over a month has evaporated.

Am I the only one who gets totally lost in the garden from the week before Memorial Day until the 3rd week in July? Seems like just a couple of weeks have passed since my last post. Let’s just say that 6 weeks of being missing in action was not my intention. I’m no slacker, the gardens made me do it.

First

You can’t plant annuals, or new perennials, or shrubs in between those early season weeds. Doing things that way you’ll wind up with the most stubborn of the lot growing out of the center of your new lovelies. Even if it is a plant you’ve had for a while, this is no time to dawdle.

Garden Tip: Gouging around in the heart of the root system trying to pull that weed you ignored isn’t going to do their come hither looks any favors. Best to get those weeds out of there early, before things start growing more roots and leaves.

Second

Having eradicated the undesirable invaders, you have to work fast at getting the Allysum, Ageratum, Geraniums, Supertunias… those spots of annual color in the ground. Once the days start warming up, every one that passes with them still cramped in little pots and cell-packs puts them one day closer to growing shabby instead of gorgeous.

Third

Holy cow, you’ve gotta get the tomatoes, peppers, and seeds sown in the veggie garden. Memorial Day has now come and gone while you were playing around with petunias. Anyone reading in a nice, warm climate will be aghast learning that I’m just now planting food bearing crops. It’s the NORTH. Some years planting on Memorial Day turns out to be a mistake, because Mother Nature decides to drop the temperature down to levels that frost can settle in low spots. Naturally, my back garden is IN a low spot. Last year I had to replace all the peppers, and even those didn’t do well. Global warming, my eye. What did they do with Summer?

Fourth

The lawn, which is a blend of hard core weeds that when kept mowed does a great job of acting like grass. They are super drought tolerant, adore living in some righteously sandy, sandy loam, and bounce back nicely when rain relieves dry spells. Unfortunately, a lot of them set seed while the tomatoes and squash are going in. So, the wind blows those seeds into the freshly weeded flower garden spaces, and after a week of nice, sunny days, and daily watering, the bare spots are weed choked again… time to start over.

Garden Tip: Get those weeds out of your beds BEFORE they go to seed. If you don’t, you’re just helping them create tons more maintenance work. One of the great things about hand-watering is you see things every day and can help cut down on weeding chores by pulling a few at a time getting close to self-sowing when you don’t have time to completely weed the planting space… flower bed or veggie garden.

Fifth

This is a good time to dead head those early bloomers, which naturally slows down the weeding process. I am victorious though, and have even gotten the new shrubs planted along the front of the house, making it look a lot more like we care about stuff around here. For two years the bed up there has had nothing in it but periodic weeds. I hate orange ditch lilies, and while I’m sure that the people who planted them there thought they were wonderful. I killed them all. Took about a year, but finally I had clear soil.

Garden Tip: Never plant tiger lilies from the ditch in a row 1-foot away from a wood-sided house. Yes, they are free. Yes, they will live through anything. They also become an impenetrable forest of foliage and tubers with roots that go half way to China, and over a decade or two can form a row over 4-foot wide. Needless to say, I need new siding. The ditch lilies rotted it out packed up tight against the wall 80% of the way around the house.

Sixth

Now the row crops in the back garden are getting smothered by weeds. Time to yank out the big ones and buy a little time, because now we’re in the middle of ripping out the entire bathroom, and someone has to find some wall tile that goes with the new floor tile. Thank goodness it’s just those few little strips. If I had to weed the whole thing, there would be more weeds than fruiting plants. For the most part, it’s a weed-free garden.

Garden Tip: Buy 4-mil nursery ground cover (super heavy duty weed block fabric) from a farm and nursery supply place and cover every inch but where you sow seeds a few inches apart. It’s amazing.

Seventh

Dang those little weeds out back around the onions, lettuces, green beans and that kind of stuff are monsters! A stupid deer jumped the fence, got caught in the electric fence wire and tore up the corner post. Sigh. Need to deal with that way more than these weeds. Just pull the ones around each of the lettuces so they get some water and air, and fix the fence before it comes back with all it’s friends.

Garden Tip: If you’re going to put up a fence to deter deer, don’t buy cheap fence posts. They can break them. Evidently, they can also run right through barbed wire too. So, if you have this vision that each one of these vandals will tiptoe up to your fence to test it for hotness, wake up. They charge through the night and can’t see that little wire in the inky darkness. Two cheap fence posts are just as expensive as the good ones.

Eighth

In the middle of all of this, I’m trying to clean up the corner where the hoses come from. It needs a hose pad/hose guards/path/water feature, and a planting that makes sense.It’s where I heal things in and protect rooting cuttings from late day sun at the moment. An eyesore. So, in my spare time, I’ve started putting the plan together.

Did I mention I have a more than full time job too?

And here we are.

It’s today, July 21st. It was way to hot to do anymore weeding. See, I’m not done yet, but the sun forced me to seek relief. And so I discovered just how far behind I’ve gotten on posting. As you see, I’ve been busy. It will be non-stop out there until frost arrives, well there and preserving the harvest.

Does anyone who gardens have time to get bored in the summer? If so, you’re not gardening hard enough.