Digging

You’ll never guess what I did this morning. Oh, you guessed it. And yes, you’re right: I dug up more weeds.

It must seem as if that’s all I ever do in my yard, and lately, it is. The areas I’ve been working on hadn’t been weeded in years. I think the previous residents mowed them down like I’ve been doing, but that doesn’t really do anything to get rid of them — it just keeps them from growing to six feet. The root, of course, is still in the ground.

The particular area I am currently working on was under cover for about a year. After the old garage was torn down, the metal carport the previous owners had put up was moved close to the house to store the building materials for the new garage as well as tools and ladders and such that couldn’t go in my house. You’d think that having the ground hidden beneath all that lumber would kill the weeds, but nope. As soon as the garage was built, the materials used up, and the carport taken away, weeds immediately sprouted like . . . weeds.

It’s the same with the area that was covered by the construction rubbish heap — weeds still grew under there. How, I don’t know. Supposedly, if weeds are deprived of sun and water, they will die, but those didn’t. So, I am digging them up and hoping they don’t grow back.

The thing with weeds is that they are opportunists that fill any available ecological niche. My first spring here, much of the yard was covered in wild mustard. I like wild mustard when it’s young — it’s such a pretty ground cover. But when it grows up and starts blooming, it takes over everything. During the rainy season that year, I managed to dig up all the mustard. It’s not totally eradicated, but what does grow is easy enough to pull up in the early spring. The problem, then, is that other weeds move in.

So if I get rid of these weeds I’m now working on, and if I don’t plant something that will be stronger than the weeds, some other type of weed will find a home here.

Everyone has a favorite weed killing concoction, but I haven’t found anything that works for me. Oh, I’m sure the poisons would do fine, but in a yard this big, I’d need to use so much of the stuff that it would probably kill me, too.

Someone swears by salt — he pours a strong salt solution on the ground, and it kills the weeds. That’s fine if you don’t want to grow anything in the area because too much salt will sterilize the soil permanently, so the best use is for things like weeds growing in the cracks sidewalks.

Several people do well with an Epsom salt/dish detergent/vinegar solution, but that’s a temporary fix because it doesn’t kill the root. In fact, when you have an alkaline soil like we do, vinegar makes the ground more fertile for weeds. In addition, no matter what kind of soil you have, vinegar will kill beneficial bacteria and bugs. Epsom salts supply needed nutrients to soil, so it’s more of a fertilizer than an effective weed killer. The dish detergent is fairly innocuous — it mostly serves to keep the vinegar and Epsom salts on the leaves of the plants. Although it seems to be effective in small areas for some people, it doesn’t seem like a good way to get rid of strong and tall weeds.

Someone suggested bleach, and I did try that on the woody weeds along the alley, but it didn’t do anything at all, even though I applied it directly to the stem at ground level.

Vegetable oil is supposed to be a good weed killer, but I haven’t yet tried it. I wouldn’t want it in my yard where I intend to plant things because it can damage plants and microorganisms. At least, that’s what some people say; others say it’s good for the soil in small amounts. Small amounts, being the key here — if I were to use it to kill all the weeds in my yard, I’d need gallons and gallons of the stuff.

One idea I found online and would like to try is to make a concoction of orange oil and 20% vinegar (household vinegar is 5%). I do know orange oil is a good disinfectant, so it might work for small areas of weeds in a garden.

As with everything nowadays, there is a plethora of information available, but the truth can only be discovered by trying things and seeing what will work for me.

And what works for me now is digging.

Oddly, as long as it is fairly cool, I like the work. Not only does it give me an excuse to be outside, it gives me a full body workout. Eventually, when the yard is landscaped and mulched, and all the various garden areas planted with the plants I choose, I won’t have to do this sort of weeding any more. But for now, it seems the safest way to go. Besides, all that digging loosens the compacted soil and prepares the ground for the deeper digging I’ll have to do when it comes time to plant something pretty.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

4 Responses to “Digging”

  1. Uthayanan Says:

    Beautiful zeniths. I like very much of variety of bright colors.

  2. mickeyhoffman Says:

    In your shoes I would find someone else to do it! Weeding is hard work and the palm trees in a nearby yard drop little seed pellets that are absolutely insidious. The sprouts have deep roots so I have to wet the earth and then dig way down. As soon as I get a few out there are a dozen more. The gardening crew that does most of the work here (thank heavens) just mows over them which seems to produce more robust plants. There are also lots of other trees that have rogues hiding everywhere but none are as hard to get out as the palms. And maybe because I don’t even like palm trees, they come to annoy me. Palms may look exotic but give no shade and drop huge fronds when the wind blows, fronds that can scratch and bruise both cars and people who might be passing by. Once in Los Angeles I came within inches of having a coconut fall on my head when I was walking down the sidewalk. (This changed my view of those trees which I thought were pretty cool when I first moved to L.A.) So it would seem that sort of tree is decidedly out of get me. End of rrant. DId I say I don’t like weeding?

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      The trees here that sprout easily are locust and siberian elm. And they’re not like weeds. They have deep roots and even in wet soil can’t just be yanked up. But I’d rather have those than palms that drop weapons on unsuspecting passersby.


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