Flower gardening or vegetable gardening is as much of a challenge this year as trying to plant corn or soybeans and harvest first-crop alfalfa!
The cool, wet spring has now given way to a hot, wet summer. With all the rain we have gotten and continue to get, it's hard to keep up with the weeds in both my flowerbeds and my family's vegetable garden.
Last year, the problem was a lack of moisture and too much heat. I watered and watered and watered and still I don't think my plants and flowers got enough moisture. There is no substitution for rain. But this year, I'm learning, along with most of you, that you can get too much of a good thing. While it's nice that I haven't had to water anything in my garden this year, getting to and keeping up with the weeds is equally tough.
Fortunately my son Nathan was able to till the garden on June 16, a full three weeks after we planted it. But with work, rain and meetings, my husband and I didn't get a chance to weed in the rows between the plants until June 20. At least the temperatures were only in the upper 70s when we were weeding and it was dry.
Thanks to the downpours we received on June 21 and the rain that is predicted through June 28, getting back into the garden to till and weed will be a dicey.
I weeded my flowerbeds 10 days ago with help from my husband. They are located on the south and east sides of our house and are easier to get to. If I get 10 or 15 minutes at lunchtime or in the evening, I like to weed as much as I can and then get back to whatever else I was doing.
While I don't seem to be keeping up with all the weeds in my flowerbeds, at least they're not getting too big to pull or hoe by the time I can get to them. But with the hot, rainy weather we are getting now, I fear that could happen. I'm also dreading a lot more mosquitoes!
This may be a year when I decide to break down and mulch my flowerbeds. I don't want to do that because mulch is expensive, it doesn't last and it makes it difficult to plant and move plants. I put Preen on once this spring. While it controls some weeds, it doesn't seem to faze others like smartweed, grasses, burdock, bind weed and creeping Charlie. If someone invented a product to rid gardens of those weeds they would make a fortune!
I know I'm not alone in my frustration with the weather and the weeds. Last week, I spoke to several farmers who hadn't finished planting their soybeans and harvesting their first-crop alfalfa. Others are having trouble finding the opportunity to get out and spray their crops for weeds – their still trying to plant.
While it would be great if we had perfect weather all the time, no weeds and plenty of time to get everything done, would it really be as rewarding? Wouldn't everyone want to farm and grow flowers and vegetables if it were easy? Maybe part of the satisfaction of farming and gardening comes not only from a job well done, but from being able to do it despite the challenges!