What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

back to the garden

on July 6, 2014

We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devil’s bargain
And we’ve got to get ourselves
back to the garden

—Joni Mitchell, “Woodstock”

Due to a crowded calendar and abundant rains, I haven’t been able to spend much time lately developing our front-yard terraced garden. We got the lower and upper beds planted and mulched, but the middle terrace still needs the hand cultivation and weeding that will eventually manage the outbreak of bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus), and purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus).

Georgia red clay ... sometimes it would rather be a brick than grow a garden, but I love it.

Georgia red clay … sometimes it would rather be a brick than grow a garden, but I love it.

“Ten more linear feet,” I told myself this evening. (I got its first ten cleared three weeks ago.) “Ten feet a day, and it’s done in four days.” It took about an hour. I loosen the soil with a digging fork, then grasp each stem between finger and thumb and carefully pull, taking care to remove as much of the roots as I can. If the middle bed responds like the upper and lower beds, a few individuals will survive, but I’ll get them with ordinary attention to weeding.

“Aren’t there chemicals for that?” someone asked me. Yeah, Big Ag will cheerfully sell you those. Never mind they’re only “moderately effective” on these species. Never mind they’re hardly selective in their effects, don’t stay where you put them, may persist for years, and combine with other compounds in ways no one expects—though they should. I’d rather shed my weeds by the sweat of my brow.

shedding style: remove, refuse
destination: a segregated compost pile

Comments welcome … what shortcuts do Big Ag, Big Pharma, and Big Oil offer that you’d just as soon refuse?


9 responses to “back to the garden

  1. joshdaddy says:

    Ever since your earlier post on yellow nutsedge I’ve been tempted to see if I could make horchata out of it!

  2. Julie Buhite says:

    Oh, if I could have just a portion of your garden fortitude and knowledge. You’re an inspiration.

  3. nrhatch says:

    Good luck finishing your plot!

  4. Anne Lene says:

    No, no… no chemicals, like you, I’d rather shed my weeds by my own hands (ok, and a shovel or two ;-) )

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