Weeding Therapy

The last couple weeks we’ve seen a great deal of rain, so instead of the dry crumbly dust I now have VERY wet soil in and around my garden. I’m happy that I decided to create somewhat raised beds so my tender little seedlings didn’t drown in the onslaught.

Another side effect of the rain is that weeds are happily taking over any available space in my garden.  With my new work schedule I’m getting home a little earlier and last week what I needed most of all was time to pull weeds.  I’m still doing most of my weeding by hand (we’ll see how long that lasts) and the few empty rows waiting for seeds that need warmer soil temps to germinate were growing some extraordinary weed populations.  I also found a few mystery potato plants growing in unexpected places.  By hand weeding, I’m gaining more confidence in recognizing which plants are weeds and which are seedlings.  Hopefully this will help me stay ahead of the weed population as my seedlings gain in strength and size.

The most exciting news of this week is that I’m finally starting to see the fruits of my labors. The onion sets enjoyed the cooler weather and extra rain and most of them have sent up long green shoots.

Looking closely at the scallions and carrots I can see the tiny green seedlings starting to poke through – nothing in the beets section yet, but I expect them to come up a little after the carrots.

The peas are starting to sprout also and soon I’ll need to go through and thin them out. I expect that to be challenging only because it’s tough to pull out a happily growing plant, but I know that’s the best way for the healthier seedlings to grow.

Today my Mom helped me put my tomato plants into the ground. She thought I was a little crazy because I trimmed off some of the lower and middle leaves and then laid the tomatoes mostly on their side when I planted them, leaving the top 4-5″ of the stem exposed. Because we live at a higher elevation with cooler summer temperatures, burying most of the stem sideways  is supposed to help the tomato plant set down more roots and keep the roots closer to the surface so they’re able to get more sun and warmth through the soil.  I also got a little frantic when she stepped onto the soil where I was going to plant the tomatoes. I told her that by walking on the soil where I’m going to plant, it compresses all the nice open spaces in the soil (mostly created by our extreme earthworm population) and makes it more difficult for the roots to grow in the soil.  I think I’m teaching her a few new things about vegetable gardens too!

In the ongoing saga of keeping the bugs off me while trying not to spray excessive chemicals, I tried out a new bug spray that is mostly essential oils. It makes me smell a bit like I just walked out of the Body Shop but it seems to be repelling the bugs reasonably well. They still fly around my head and drive me crazy, but at least they’re not biting me quite as often.

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