While I was weeding one of our many gardens, I realized that being called a “Master Gardener” is a misnomer. Anyone who lives where I do knows that if you want a proper garden that is weed-free, you need to re-title yourself as a “Master Weeder.” The quack grass and thistle have been the bane of my existence the last several weeks. After letting things go the last several summers, my bulbs of tulips were choked out and didn’t put forth any blooms with the exception of 4-5 brave and hearty flowers that showed up. When pulling the weeds from the rich, black soil I have extracted the bulbs and have put them elsewhere to hopefully return to life as normal for a plant.
I have thought of the weeds as a threat from the underworld, a demonic kind of force that troubles all gardeners but I think they are more forceful and prolific here where the soil just nourishes and enriches them. We went without rain for some time and thankfully I was able to get rid of many of the weeds because their root system was very superficial, maybe going down just 4 inches. Now that we have had over the last several days over an inch or two of rain, the roots of the weeds will become even more formidable.
Last night I was checking how my raspberry patch was doing out in the shelter belt. I had taken out lots of quack and itch weed along with burdock. The burdock has leaves that are big like rhubarb and have a nasty root system so without a spade, I was just pulling off the leaves so that the raspberries had a chance to get sun. I went back to find that the burdock was even more out in force but what I had taken out with the roots was gone. So, I kept pulling off all the big leaves and hope that the raspberries can catch the sun as much as possible before the burdock returns. I’m told that the roots are quite good for eating. I’ll look up recipes for that once I know the raspberries are okay with the disturbance of a fork getting to the burdock roots. I’m wondering which is more evil of the two, buckthorn or burdock. If the latter has a useful purpose then I would say buckthorn, which looks like a plum tree but has NOTHING good about it, that’s the more wicked of the two.
I planted next to our house a wonderful little plant that may grow to 3-4 feet high, it is either called Currant Swirl or Datura Black. I bought about 10-12 of these for $4 each at the university’s greenhouse. It is good to experiment and I’m glad I got this one. I don’t know what the white flowering plant is that has a gray stalk and leaves. I’m going to have to have a Master Gardener come to our place to find out what the name of this interesting plant is. It is already flowering but am waiting for the datura to have a beautiful purple swirl of a flower.
Okay, I’m sure you want to see pictures of all this gardening mayhem. What master weeders should do often, just for encouragement, is take a BEFORE picture first and then take an after picture, after many hours of slaving away and fighting off the weed beasts! The AFTER picture is so worth the toil and the battle. I’ll keep weeding so I can have the momentary privilege of a weed-free garden. I have about 12-13 different flower gardens to deal with and TWO major vegetable gardens. I’m thankful that I stayed outside until almost 10:00 p.m. several nights ago to plant all the Swiss chard, carrots, beets, cabbage, tomatoes, parsnips, broccoli, snow peas, cukes, wax beans, anything else? We have it all at our farm!