Thursday, June 2, 2011

How my garden grows - What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it

Weeding the garden is one of my least favorite chores.  It’s monotonous, laborious and never ending.  Falling behind in weeding isn’t an option.  If I miss even one day I’ll have to work five times as hard to get rid of the nuisances . . . yeah, they grow that fast. 

I don’t want to have to spend so much time weeding, but weed I must.  They steal light, water, and nutrients from the soil and, ultimately, my precious plants.  And, shelter pernicious insects and disease.

The best way to control the weeds is to learn to identify them when they are young. It’s easier to control them when their just popping out of the dirt.  And, once the get established, getting rid of them will be a greater effort.

In an attempt to thwart some of the weed growth, we’ve overlaid some of the bare spots with heavy plastic topped with wood chips.  This should stifle their growth if not suffocate them entirely. 

If you can’t get the whole root out, just remove the top of the weed. Persistent weeds, such as dandelions, may have to be cut down several times, but eventually they will die.

Die weeds die!!

Not all weeds are bad, however.  Purslane, grows naturally and heartily when we have our garden plot.  Not only is it a beneficial weed but it's an edible one . . . and tasty, too.    Be on the lookout for this good weed and leave it be.  It creates a ground cover that helps the soil moist by preventing evaporation.  Harvest it when you want something different to add to a salad or main dish.  

One of my favorite ways to use purslane is in a tangy cucumber salad.  Simpley, slice cucumbers and chop purslane.  Toss with garlic, olive oil, cider vinegar, salt and pepper.  It's light and refreshing.  Very yummy!

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