Sunday, June 30, 2013
Bindweed and Broccoli: Growing Like Crazy
Even though I wasn't able to plant tomatoes and basil until early June, they are thriving. My youngest grandson brought me three leftover broccoli plants from his garden which did fairly well for awhile. This week, since I prefer not to use chemicals, I pulled the broccoli out. The leaves, although quite good sized, were full of jagged holes and I didn't want nearby cucumbers to become infested. Cucumbers, fresh and pickled, are a highlight of my summers.
Spring tilling and summer hoeing keeps weeds down in the tomato patch and raised the bed. However, the large perennial bed is another story. Between the rain, work, and personal obligations, I cleaned out only a small portion this Spring. Prolific larkspur and sweet peas battle bindweed for survival. A similar weedy vine has taken over the trellis meant for the sweet peas. Although I made a space for volunteer strawberry plants, nut sedge has popped up all around them. Now most of the strawberry plants look as if they have some sort of blight. Two volunteer trees are growing at the back of the bed. Usually, I chop them off at ground level but the tall thick larkspur tied together with bindweed makes it hard to get to the trees. In short, the bed has gone wild. I'm pretty sure neither my grandfather nor his mother ever had a flower bed that was such a mess.
Yesterday after I pulled several buckets of bindweed and cleared only a small space, I concluded maintaining the bed is no longer fun or satisfying. Come early autumn, I'm pulling it all out, reducing the size significantly and changing the shape so maintenance is easier.
Just as I finished cleaning up, my grandson and daughter arrived with warm cinnamon rolls from a local bakery. Sitting on the deck in dappled shade with them was much more pleasant than pulling bindweed. As my daughter and I talked about mulch and ground cover in flower beds, my grandson pushed a monster truck toward me. Then he joined our garden conversation by telling me, "my broccoli is growing like crazy." I love the thought of this almost three year old and his parents carrying on the gardening tradition in our family.