This summer has been a battle against weeds of all shapes and sizes: ever crawling vines, stubborn crabgrass, an easy to pluck red-rooted variety, and last but not least, thistle. Thistle is entirely covered in small thorns that stick in your skin and can be hard to pull out because of their size. The only part safe to grab is at the very base where there are no thorns, unless you wear gloves. (But Morgan and I prefer weeding without gloves because your fingers are unencumbered and can pull out the root of the weed more easily. So gloves are a last resort when there is a lot of thistle present.) We currently have a thistle forest, think 5ft tall prickly plants with small purple flowers, at the back of the garden at 79 Alexander. We will need to tackle them to make more beds for watermelon and corn, and I’m looking forward to it. I find big projects like that in which you can see the changes you are making to the garden immediately to be very rewarding. This is why Morgan gave me the title “Mulch Princess” in a previous blog post! Seeing the garden fence that used to be lined with weeds now lined (mostly) with mulch makes me smile each time I walk in. There is still one section on the far side that we need to make time to finish up. The reason that I like mulch so much is that I look at it as preventative weed management. The wood chips make it significantly harder for weeds to grow through, and if some weeds to get through they are much easier to pull out. My mom and I made a flower bed on the left of the fence to match the one we had on the right. We transplanted the tiger lilies that we found already at the garden, and added cone flowers, daisies and black-eyed susans from home.
Last week I started my biggest weed battle to date. At the small garden plot next to Forbes there are small trees starting to grow inside the garden. Their woody stem and roots are near impossible to remove! For an hour I dug out sections of the roots and pulled at the stem with no luck. A heavy down pour started so I left because digging in the mud was increasingly difficult. There are at least five more weeds of similar proportions and one much larger. This week I found a small pull saw and was able to cut down the stems and cut out most of their roots as I turned the soil. It is now all ready for planting!
Another, very different variety of weeds inhabits the Frist garden: ground cover weeds. These small buggers don’t grow tall, instead they grow wide. Taking over all the spaces between herb patches, making gardeners confused as to which green thing to pull, and causing an overgrown appearance. Currently the Frist garden is in need of a renovation as Morgan mentioned in her last blog post. I drew up a rough plan as to what that garden could look like if we purchased some river stone and organized the herbs better. I am very excited by the prospect of it becoming a highly usable and aesthetically pleasing space. Morgan and I also think it would be great to add some flowers along the back that attract butterflies to the garden. Some of these flowers include milkweed, marigold, and cone flowers. This should attract butterflies such as the Monarch and varieties of swallowtail.