It Looks Like I’ve Been Growing

It looks like I’ve been growing my own mulch again. I used the old lettuce plants down one side of a corn patch where the Creeping Jenny was encroaching, and the bolted spinach stalks down the other. I used hollyhock stalks along the Brussels sprouts row. They will take forever to decompose but it seems to take Brussels sprouts all summer. The gardening waste mulch I’ve been encircling my artichokes with all winter looked appalling after I cut them down. I was going to have to rake it all up and start over, but scored three wheelbarrow loads of moldy hay, so I was able to just cover it up. What was left was all the stems and stalks, and putting hay over them will keep them decomposing through the summer.

The spring garden is yielding a bountiful variety of produce. Cabbage, broccoli, carrots, beets, peas, cauliflower, spinach, lettuce, and zucchini. We are reluctant to have tacos or spaghetti for dinner because we’ll get a day behind on the veggies. Second plantings of beets, carrots and bush beans are in the ground and the fourth planting of corn. I’ve got more cabbage and broccoli seeds that I could plant, but they are way too hard for me to grow in the summer heat. I have to shade the cabbage and the broccoli gets tough as tree bark. Some crops just do better in the cooler climate of spring. Besides, who wants broccoli and cabbage when they could have corn on the cob and fresh green beans, and tomatoes and cucumbers?

I’m having a hard time keeping my garden weeded this year. Like a spider trying to build a web in the wind, it’s just too much effort for so small a reward. The weeds are in categories this year. Small four inch weeds are designated hula hoe time. Larger weeds are shovel time, unless they are in a patch, then they become weed whacker candidates. Clusters of short weeds in the pathways are called ground cover now. Large clusters of weeds in untamed areas get ignored. They are for the indigenous insects to forage. I didn’t realize how much I was dependent on Round Up to keep my garden looking meticulous. I won’t use it now. I was willing to risk the consequences of it’s toxicity when I thought inhaling the fumes was the only hazard. When I found out that it’s toxic to soil microorganisms I couldn’t justify garden aesthetics over soil health. I found out today that plants are developing Round Up tolerance. That means microbes can too. There could be Draconian consequences to changing what Mother Nature has spent four billion years developing.

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