genegerue at ruralize.com
Sun Apr 1 11:45:08 EDT 2007
This discussion on mulch and weeds is a reminder that there is no one
true model for a successful garden. The area, the climate, the soil,
the local weather, the distance between the subject garden and other
gardens, the wind patterns, critter population and more all
contribute to challenges and opportunities. What works for James or
Lisa or Bev or me may or may not work for Van Dell.
The challenge of weeds is unlimited and ongoing. I have read articles
about compulsive gardeners who maintain gardens bereft of weeds. Or
at least it was so the moment the photos were taken. Most who have
gardened for a long time have developed a tolerance for a certain
weed level. As the years pass we become more clever but also more
accepting of imperfection. This is revealed to you by a recovering
To do successful combat with weeds one must become intimate with
one's enemy. The first thing to internalize is that seeds do not like
to die. They will fight it with great resources. They will lie in
wait for years until conditions are right, then when you go away for
a couple days will spring to a mighty height. So the first price of
weed freedom is eternal vigilance.
Rather than smothering weed seeds to keep them from sprouting I find
it useful to let them sprout and then pull them as soon as they are
of a size that fits the pulling hand. Thence to the compost pile or
chicken run or, if that is too far a walk or I am feeling lazy, I
just toss them onto my wide grass paths, there to wilt to death in
the sun and later violate them with the riding mower.
Thinking of those wide, grassy paths leads back to design. One of the
great joys of gardening is playing with design. Just as children must
make their own mistakes and find their own way, so, too, each
gardener must find the way that works. To turn or not to turn, to
multiple transplant or do it once, to keep an acre in rows cultivated
by horse and cultivator or to use the intensive planting method on a
hundred square feet, to fence or keep dogs, to flat plant or use
raised beds, and to have those raised beds just mounds or thirty
inches high, to attempt to feed oneself ninety percent or far less
from the garden, there are unlimited choices.
And who would have it different? We are sovereign, independent
homesteaders, by golly, and will jolly well do it our way.
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