This is the point in the garden when optimism is flourishing as much as the plants seem to be.
It’s been about a month since we planted, and much has come up strong and healthy.
It doesn’t hurt that we’ve had almost perfect rain during that span. Day-long drenching soaks followed by a few days of hot sun followed by another day-long soak. Repeat for a month.
It also doesn’t hurt that because of the work-from-home situation that is now looking to be all summer long, I have been able to get outside multiple times per day, often rain or shine, and pick away at the weeds.
A couple years ago we didn’t even grow a garden the weeds were so bad. I fallowed for 2018 in hopes of spending the summer tackling the weed situation. My approach was a mix of manual and chemical attack. I pulled aggressive weeds (which rarely works as well as you think) and applied multiple drenchings of Round Up (specifically to take on the quackgrass that had infiltrated from every approach.)
The success was limited.
I did make a huge improvement in the quackgrass situation, the deep-rooted aggressive grass had reached a point of garden takeover that made the mid-summer soil look like a meadow rather than a carrot patch. By the end of 2018, that invasion had been reduced to a single digit percentage of its pre-battle state.
The other weeds, likely as not because of some germination adaptation that staggers and makes dormant with some randomness the seeds of weeds, coupled with the abundance of birds, paired with the never-ending flow of wind and air through the yard carrying unseen seeds and spores… well… that was a different situation. As it turns out, for every weed one pulls, two more seemed to spring up in its place.
It was a long summer, and (not working from home) the weeds had the advantage over my schedule. In the summer of 2019 while the grasses had been tamed, there was no let-up in the thistle, knapweed, dandilion, stinkweed, and more. I would miss a few days of weeding, they would go to seed, and inevitably (no matter how careful I was) a there would be contamination and a whole new generation caught in the wind.
Also, I learned that composting may not actually destroy these seeds… so I’ve started putting them in the trash. Oops.
But in the summer of 2020 things have vastly improved. Daily weeding means the plants I’m cultivating are significantly out-surviving those I am not. My carrots are strong (if patchy), the lettuce may be salad-worthy in a few weeks, the peas are tall and strong, and the cucumber plants look to be starting a runaway attack of the patch I’ve generously allocated for them.
Fifteen years in the house and (barring a hailstorm or other disaster) this may be the best garden ever.