It had all began those many years ago. Just married, we rented a small house in the country. The landlord said there was a small plot I could use for a garden in the back yard. Although being a totally naive big city boy in the ways of gardening, I thought "what the heck why not.With the encouragement of my new bride I planted a few crops. Some proved to be quite successfull. Others were, shall we say, a little unusual. Like the J-hooked onions that came up. Actually they weren't a new variety.... I had planted them all upside down. Or the rhubarb seedlings I had nurtured.... they turned out to be an ugly weed called burdock. Oh yes, I couldn't tell the crops from the weeds at first. And there were always plenty of the later. They were relentless.
Then there was the garden in the country where we bought our first house on three acres. The garden there grew and grew in size. I dug it all out by hand. Apparently rototillers hadn't been invented yet. The weeds followed me there as well. And I added to that crop by fertillizing with fresh horse manure from a neighboring farm. It turned out horses eat a lot of weeds and the seeds remain viable to spread new generations of their kind.
Yet each winter, looking out upon the bleak landscape, hope would spring eternal. A fresh start. A new garden. I became a true gardener.
Once upon returning from flyfishing trip to Montana with my brother I found all the carrots gone. It seems my volunteer garden substitute, Mrs T, had weeded them all out. Apparently she hadn't realized that weeds generally don't grow in neat rows. And the blistered hands from hoeing. And the frustration. In more recent years each time we left to spend a few weeks with the grandchildren in far away Colorado, I would meticulously remove every visible weed before we left. Then return to find the enemy everywhere overpowering my hapless little seedlings.
I had tried everything in addition to sweat equity. Newpapers, mulch, even old carpets. Last year my frustration turned to desperation. I had learned from a resident "master gardener" that weed seeds can lie dormant in the soil for hundreds of years, only to spring to life upon exposure to light and moisture. Finally I had deserted my every moral and guideing principles. I turned to something called ROUNDUP.
It worked. With a minimum of effort it killed all the weeds, as well as stunting all my tomatoes, peppers, beans etc. In addition I was contributing to the degredation of the environment. What a disaster. Embarrased, humbled, even looking guilty in front of my gardening friends, I resolved then and there to leave the field of battle. Finis. The End.
p.s. Life goes on though. My big native wildflower project continues. More trees, shrubs and flowers have been planted. There is less grass to mow. More birds and big and small creatures of the woods to enjoy. It is truely a labor of love for me. Each year I see fewer and fewer of those pesky weeds. I don't miss them at all. btw.... we'll be visiting lots of farmers market this summer for those delicious home grown veggies. And it doesn't hurt at all that the Amish ladies bake wonderful pies. Life is good.
Foot note: My woodland flower gardens.