Gardening Amongst the Weeds

Many of my long time readers know that I moved to a new place almost two years ago.  And still today we love the place.  Sure there have been bumps in the home, but it has been great for many reasons.  The home is comfortable, the neighborhood is great, and we simply just feel at home.

Since we moved in I wanted to use the huge (42’x22′) garden area in the back yard.  However, last year we focused on other projects.  First, we built a play fort in the back yard sand pit for the kids.  That was a lot of work and the kids have been enjoying it.

I have also spent a fair share of time working in the basement trying to add two more bedrooms for our continually growing family.  That is finished accept that there is not ceiling in them.  But they are working as bedrooms for now.

But the number one reason that I didn’t garden anything last year was that I didn’t want to use culinary water on a garden when I was already being charge for irrigation water that I wasn’t even using.  My original intent was to put the plumb the irrigation into the sprinkler system and back near the gardening area the first spring we were in the house.  However, I was just too lazy and never got around to that project.

So, I put off having a garden.  But after one summer of $100+ water bills for watering my lawn with culinary water, I quickly regretted my laziness.  The bills were motivation enough for me to get my act together and I installed the irrigation pipes in October of last year.

Unfortunately, I they turned off the irrigation water during the summer months the week before I finished my little project.  I had to wait all winter to see if my glue job worked.  We buried the pipes anyway, and just waited out the winter. When spring came, I was nervous about leaks, but they didn’t come.  The worst part was dirt in my sprinkler system that forced one of the stations to sprinkle all of the time.  But I eventually figured out the problem and I have loved the new pressure in my sprinklers.

With this irrigation installed I started planning my garden back in February.  The wife always teases me about my excitement in February, especially since we have to wait until May before we can plant.  It ends up being three months of sweet anticipation.  So, much so, that I  never wait until mid-May, instead, I planted the first week in May.

That was probably one of my first problems with my garden.  Not everything I planted grew.  Cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, and several others just wouldn’t grow.

The second problem was the sheer magnitude of the garden.  40’x20′ may be nothing for some, but it is probably 8 times larger than I have ever gardened before.  It ended up being too much.  After about a month and a half of total dedication to my garden, I got overwhelmed.

The third problem is that when we moved into the house, the weeds in the garden area were at least waste height.   And then I let them get almost that bad the first summer in the house.  So, the weeds had this idea that this year they were going to reign again.  They did.

About a 14th of the garden is at least waste high and the rest is covered in weeds.  This hasn’t been too much of a problem.  We are still getting a lot of yellow squash, some zucchini, tons of pumpkins (several of which are volunteers), a good harvest of cantelope (again some are volunteers), and the best crop of corn I have ever had (but that isn’t anything to brag about).   The tomatoes have finally started to make an appearance, but none of them have shown their true colors.  And I am just not into fried green tomatoes, not that I have ever tried them.

So despite the weeds and other problems with the garden.  I would actually deem this year as a gardening success.  Next year we are planing on laying down that black weed cover to keep the weeds under better control.  But I don’t know that we can afford to cover as much as we want.  We will have to see.

So, how have you garden adventures gone this summer?

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