July 22: The philosopy of weeding – or not

Spent about an hour and a half in the garden this morning, mostly weeding the lettuce, onions, carrots and flowers that ring the garden. I decided to start early (about 7 a.m.) because of the high humidity, but it didn’t matter all that much. It didn’t take long before I was drenched in sweat and so hot that my glasses kept steaming up on me.

I had a two-fold reason for weeding, the first being that I wanted to cut the lettuce and didn’t want to have to pick out the grass when I washed it later. There also were weeds choking out the onions and carrots. Some of the onions have had a tough go of it lately with the wind, so I wanted to give them any help possible. The carrots haven’t made a real strong showing this summer anyway, and I really want the ones that did come up to keep growing. I tried replanting the bare spots, but by that time I think it was too hot for them to grow.

The second reason is that my parents are coming next weekend and I’d like the garden to be semi-presentable. I don’t want my mom to take pity on me and feel like she has to pull them for me! Even though I’m pretty sure she would if I asked her to.

I got to thinking about my whole philosophy about weeding, too. I make every effort to keep up the weeding, but often I just don’t have the time. I know I should make more time, but it doesn’t always happen. That’s just the way it is. And there’s the fact that I like to procrastinate when it comes to weeds. That means I usually (well, almost always) let them go until there are more weeds than veggies.

Now my mom, like neighbor Jack, have a different philosophy. They catch the weeds before they become a problem. Even when my mother was working full-time and taking care of my dad and six kids, her garden always seemed clear of weeds. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. Is there such a thing as a weeding gene? There must be – and I think it skipped a generation.

The strange thing is, I don’t even mind weeding once I get started. It’s kind of like a spring cleaning of sorts, or in this case summer cleaning. It’s a good feeling to give the veggies an extra edge by getting rid of something that is stealing their nutrients. And yes, I realize that had I kept up on the weeding all along I could have had that feeling more often without forcing the veggies to share their dirt! But hey, go with me, OK?

I also spent some time this afternoon canning my first jars of pickles – refrigerator dills. It’s a really easy recipe that doesn’t require processing the jars in a hot-water bath. All you do is put dill, garlic and onions on the bottom of a jar, then the cucumbers, then repeat the dill/onions/garlic. Add a boiling mixture of water, vinegar, sugar and canning salt. Screw on the lids and you’re done! No hot-water bath. Really, really easy. (The smell of the dill, garlic and vinegar also helped mask the horrid smell of the mouse rotting in one of our walls, but that’s another story!)

Tomorrow night, I hope to freeze all the beans I’ve got sitting in my refrigerator. I probably should pick more, too, so they don’t get too stringy. Fresh beans anyone?

Looking east.

Looking west

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