As I promised, this weekend was THE weekend. The one where Farmer B and I tried to turn the thicket of shoulder-high weeds back into a garden. I have been dreading it since the beginning of the summer. I anticipated it being a horrible experience with oppressive heat and bugs... and holy heat wave - was I ever right.
Farmer B started by pulling up the anti-puppy fence that we keep around the garden and immediately both dogs dove in to the long grass. We ended up accidentally breaking the underground electric dog fence while pulling up the garden fence, which was an added bonus. Include an added trip to Home Depot to buy wire repairing equipment to this wonderful task.
Did I mention this weekend is Farmer B's birthday too? Yeah, he's a dedicated husband when it comes down to it.
Then Farmer B used the push trimmer to hack through the weeds in an attempt to find the raised beds. Surprisingly they were still under there - burried, but intact.
Did I mention how hot it was? Luckily the heat index was just UNDER 100 degrees so we didn't pass out, but contemplated it several times.
After he whacked down all the grass and weeds around the raised beds it was my fun-filled job to pull up the masses of weeds that had found a new home in the raised beds. As I was doing this with sweat running down my arms and spiders the size of cats running up my arms I really wondered if it was all going to be worthwhile at the end of the day.
When I got one bed about halfway cleared I decided to grab Clementine from the chicken run and toss her into the bed to save me from the creepy-crawlies who were hell-bent on latching on to my face as I pulled up 3-foot long weeds. My dainty (useless) yellow chicken spent 2 seconds in the blistering direct sun in the garden, made an angry bokking noise, then made a bee-line for the shady woody area all the way on the other side of the yard before I could even grab the camera. Pathetic chicken.
Then I decided to bring out Maggie and put her to work. I tossed her into the raised bed and went back to weeding. It worked out GREAT! She grabbed two large spiders and some wormy-leggy thing before becoming overwhelmed from the heat and making a bee-line to the same shady patch of trees where Clementine was relaxing.
Pathetic. Both of them.
At the end of the day I had a sore back, a visible garden area and one de-weeded raised bed. I was beyond exhausted, but felt good that it was done… but felt angry that I still had the other bed to clear.
On Day 2 I returned to the garden (sans useless sun-shy chickens) and pulled the weeds out of the second bed. I was happy to see that the spiders were just as comfortable in this bed as they were in the other one. I was a bit afraid that some big-fanged 8-legged creature might not ruin my day by jumping at my arm. Luckily my fear was unwarranted.
I did find something very interesting buried in this bed though…
Carrots! Who knew? I didn't attempt to bring them inside since I'm sure they were woody and rubbery and weird, but it was a funny thing to see growing amongst the weeds.
At the end of day two, it was done. A weedless garden. Two weedless raised beds. Finally.
I figured that when I was done I'd have one of those "See what you get for not weeding all summer?" moments. I was wrong. Instead I had a "Gah - this was HORRIBLE - THIS is why I didn't go out into the garden all summer" moments.
I'm now faced with a couple of problems.
1) I'm convinced that these beds are now full of weed seeds just ready to sprout at their first opportunity. I'm not sure quite what to do about that. I do not have the resources to empty out the beds and buy all new compost, peat moss and vermiculite. So I'll have to think on this one since I did want to try a Fall planting…
2) I now have about 3 inches less of mix in the boxes as I did when I started. Regardless of what I decide, the boxes will have to be topped up in a big way before I ever plant again.
So there you have it. As my dad would say "Good job done." As I would say after doing this "@$%^ job done!"