Tending Time

I am leaving the planting time of year in Central Texas and entering the tending time.

I was finally able to get into my garden to weed. It's usually feast or famine here when it comes to rainfall - "drought or flood" might be a better phrase - and last weekend we got two and a half inches. It took a good part of the week for the garden to dry out enough to be able to get into without severely compacting the soil. But the weeds were starting to take over, so I decided it was time.

When I feel like doing it (which often isn’t the case), I enjoy weeding. I am a no-gloves gardener. Consequently for days after I weed you can see chlorophyll stains on my index finger from pulling weeds. I like the feeling of dirt on my hands. If I could, I would garden barefoot as well, but using a hoe while barefoot is something that would make my husband squirm if he heard about it, especially since he already harasses me about not wearing gloves. I must admit too, I am rather fond of all my toes. As for the fire ants, I've learned to avoid them.

It's amazing how much of a difference an hour of work in the garden can make. I now have the weeds somewhat under control, and my plants have a little more space to themselves. I wish sometimes there was an easier way to get rid of weeds besides weeding. We have half the garden covered with newspaper and grass clippings (I needed to get the second half weeded before covering it), which helps considerably with weeds. However, I must admit my parents were right - the only true way to control weeds is to pull them with a good tug which gets the roots and not just the stem and leaves.

An update on the basil starts. They didn’t make it. I had them outside for a little the other day, which was nice and cool, 60 degrees in the morning hours. A gust of wind, which brought our cooler temperatures, blew the flats over. All the dirt and little seedlings were blown about our back porch. I was lacking optimism overall about their chance of survival, so the loss wasn't quite as hard as it may have been. I think I may just try direct planting some seeds and see how that works.