Monday, August 29, 2011

Weeds ready to plant

A truck full of weeds means lines of weed-free pots ready to be planted with new vegetables and flowers.

Simply Living
August 28, 2011

It feels good to have the garden weeded. Ralph and I returned from our New England trip to find more than 100 15-gallon potted plants in desperate need of attention. A tangle of unwanted growth had besieged our container garden.

The weeds didn't suddenly emerge during our absence. Their campaign to subdue our intended crops had been weeks — in some cases, months — in the making. Our mistake had been to ignore obvious signs, allowing tenacious roots to become well established. It took time away to make us realize the mess that our forestalling had created.

"What do you think about doing some weeding this evening?" my husband asked the day after we got home. With daytime temperatures hovering in the mid-90s, evening seemed a sensible time to tackle this project.

I told him it sounded good, and when late afternoon rolled around, I donned gardening gear — old jeans, ratty shirt, gloves, hat, socks and shoes — to join my husband for a robust, down-to-earth workout.

"I'm going to begin over here," I said from one end of the row as my husband started pulling weeds at the other. "I'll call if I need help with any big ones."

I called a lot. There were plenty of huge weeds — invaders so large and well-rooted that no amount of yanking would dislodge them.

"I'm going to dump the whole pot out," Ralph said after one frustrating attempt to de-weed a container overtaken by a particularly vigorous and stubborn specimen. Into the truck's bed it went. We worked for about two hours, and in that time managed to clear weeds out of about half the pots. The following day, we conquered the remainder.

"It feels good, doesn't it?" I said as we dipped into the lake to soak off sweat and smudges of dirt.

Ralph nodded, adding: "I didn't think we'd get so much done."

I had to agree. Despite years of working together on countless home and garden projects, I'm still surprised how much can be accomplished in relatively short periods. Focus is the key.

Looking around, I noticed more flower beds begging for attention in addition to all the non-garden-related projects in want of completion.

"If we could just work like this every day for a couple of hours," I mused, "imagine how much we'd get done."

It was a familiar fantasy.

"Yeah," he agreed wistfully, "if we only could."

Ralph and I both knew that chances of that happening were zero to slim. Although we've spent our entire adulthoods independently employed, we have yet to master the art of consistent self-discipline. Some lessons are apparently more challenging than others, and, for us, the ability to keep on top of our ever-burgeoning to-do list remains an indomitable objective.

"Now that we've got the container garden weeded," Ralph said as we were drying off from our dip, "we really should mulch the pots and get some more seeds planted."

He's right, of course. Add those projects to the list. More chances to hone our self-discipline are close at hand.

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