I had originally envisioned that while under stay at home orders that I would catch up on everything in my home garden. Usually I'm out working in other people's gardens all day and by the time I get home I don't have a lot of energy left for my own space. In the summer and fall it is often so hot at the end of the day I can't imagine spending any more time outdoors than I have to for work. In general things are set up to be relatively low maintenance so that we can spend time enjoying our garden instead of working in it. Yet there are always changes I want to make, things to be trimmed back and new things to plant.
Initially I dove in and spent hours catching up on weeding. The late rains brought a new crop of weeds for me to work on. By far the biggest "weed" I have these days is chickweed. Through careful management I have managed to reduce the amount invasive grasses and other more common weedy plants. In their place I have allowed more useful plants to thrive. I once dug up a bunch of nettles and actually brought them home to plant. Now I have nettles popping up every year. I do harvest some to cook and this year I dried a good deal for tea. Though I still had more nettles than I wanted and had to dedicate a few hours over several days to carefully pulling them. I like to add nettles to my compost because they are good nutrient accumulators. The chickweed is similarly both edible and medicinal. The thing is that I don't really use much if any of it. It turns out that just because I could eat something doesn't mean that I will. There is usually a spring green salad or two that includes some chickweed and maybe I nibble some as I'm working. But the stuff has spread enough to become quite a nuisance. Pulling it certainly kept me occupied during the early days of the stay at home order. We had another late rain and that strengthened the remaining chickweed and other less desirable plants so you would hardly know that I had spent so much time cleaning up the garden.
I did plant some bean seeds and they are just sprouting.
Last year I bought up all the seeds for black and dark colored flowers that I could find. I planted seeds of some of the varieties last fall. Now my Black Magic bachelor's button are blooming and thriving! They aren't a terribly deep color but they are very pretty nonetheless. And this ladybug approved.
The garden may not be looking as tidy as I imagined it would all those distant weeks ago. But it has provided a balm to the anxiety of living in times of a pandemic. Plants give us something to look forward to. I look forward to watching these beans grow. I'm excited to see how many tomatoes I can cram into our modest yard this summer. I'm watching the plums and nectarine tree set tiny fruit and watching them grow. I'm continually amazed at how the compost pile continues to break down and shrink no matter how much green waste I pile onto it. I'm grateful to have this space and the time and strength to tend it.
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