Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rounding Up The Garden

It all startedwhen we moved next door into the woods to build a new house. I left behind several
beautiful sunny gardens and wildflowers along the back of the house and the adjacent woods. Then there was the vegetable garden.

For decades I supplemented the soil from an active compost pile. The soil became deep rich and loamy. It produced bountiful crops of delicious vegetables. Nothing like home grown is there?

I knew that our new home in the woods next door would require a different gardening approach. Native woodland flowers and other shade growing plants. Surrounded by giants oak trees and white pine there was really no place for a vegetable garden.

I was pointing this all out to Mrs T. Our days of growing, canning and freezing our own crops were over. We would find and patronize local farmers markets. That would be just as good and a lot less work. I especially noted that I would not miss all the hoeing and weeding. Thirty years of that was just about enough!

About that time our friend and neighbor farmer Dick dropped by. He heard Mrs T’s sad story about the end of our vegetable growing days. "Not a problem," he noted generously,
"I have 14 acres of corn on the west side of your woods. Use whatever you need for your garden." Mrs T lit up like a Christmas tree. "Oh how wonderful" she enthused. "Well ah... I’m sort of retiring from that field," I noted cautiously. Getting the "look" I piped down quickly. "Then I’m going to do it," she added..... We were back in the vegetable growing business.

From overhead you can see the emerging corn to the west on the far left. Our house is hidden in the oak trees. The deck faces the setting sun. The plan that developed featured me sitting on the deck, binoculars and adult beverage in hand, offering cogent supervisory assistance, while she worked the garden. Great idea, I thought. That lasted, of course less than a week.

The garden angel!

Its been seven years now since that inauspicious beginning. Each year the garden seems to have grown in size. It apparently has a will all of its own. I can’t explain it. The soil is rocky and not very fertile but the weeds seem to grow better than ever. Till this year. I had studied the adjacent corn field very carefully. Fourteen acres and NOT A SINGLE WEED. I asked what the key to this phenomena was? Roundup its called. By mid July I was definitely losing the weed war. I thought .... what the heck I’ll give it a try. One gallon sprayer in hand I attacked the persistent little green intruders. Success. They wilted and died.

It wasn’t till a couple of weeks later that it became apparent that the tomatoes, peppers beans etc. seemed to be in a permanent sulk. Not exactly dead but with leaves curled tightly and not growing any more. Consulting my farmer friend I received the third degree. "Did you hold the sprayer nozzle within two inches of the ground? Was it very windy the day you sprayed.?" Oh oh...
Drift can be a serious problem with herbicides. Apparently one should read the directions on the container.

In light of the wilted state of the national economy, perhaps next winter, when all the garden catalogues arrive, I will revive my argument that stimulating the local farmers markets is the patriotic thing to do.


  1. The farmer's market isn't terrible but it isn't great either. You can't get decent corn at a farmer's market and the tomatoes are so-so. Recently I found that the 'farmers' drive their trucks down to Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas and pick up produce from commercial growers and bring it back up here. Not fair, right?

    Better keep that hoe sharp;)

  2. Great post. Your descriptions are delightful.

  3. Yes I can picture the look that Mrs. T gave you since I very familiar with it. Are you sure you didn't accidentally on purpose spray that roundup a little to close to the veggie plants?

    Just remind Mrs. T how much she will be helping the local economy by buying produce at the farmer's market. She would be helping to do her part for economic stimulus and recovery. Obama needs all the help he can get right now.

    If that don't work just pretend your back is bothering you - it always works for me when I need to get out of yardwork. Just make sure the ache lasts all spring and most of the summer. LOL

  4. Seems like you are on a loosing streak TB with both Mrs TB and the weeds. LOL!! Maybe next summer you should plan a trip at planting time. :)

  5. As usual your story telling kept me on the edge of the seat waiting to see what path you were going to take us down. I wouldn't use Roundup close to anything I was planning on eating later. But you won't be eating anything from that garden later, will you?

    I made the same mistake close to some of my flowers. The blooms didn't look exactly like they should have. I don't use it very often, just when it really gets out of control.

    Leedra’s Photos For Fun

  6. If you can find Roundup ready veggies and flowers, you will be all set. I just don't think they are widely available to the general public.

    I'm with you on this one though -- I do not plan on having a garden once we retire. Maybe a tomato plant, but that's it. It is hard work and best left to those with strong backs, which I'm sure I will not have in 10 years. It gives me problems now.

    Better luck next year, dear.

  7. oooh, boy. Roundup in a sprayer makes me very nervous! You may have to do something different... But keep gardening a little, at least!

  8. I'm a veteran user of Roundup, aka Agent Orange. I only use it where I want nothing at all to grow. I once heard a guy on a gardening show suggest using a small paint brush to apply it to morning glory that is creeping into your bushes and flowers. I may just try that.