The Weedy-ness of Midsummer

I’m not going to actually air my weeds in public. So here is a photo of my favorite reading fairy, swimming in a sea of sedum and daylilies.

But trust me. I got weeds.

Today was a gift from the gardening gods–an inch of rain last night, sunny this morning and in the low 70’s (Fahrenheit) with a cool breeze straight out of the north. Yum.

But with the rain and cooler temps, here comes a whole new crop of weeds that must be hand-pulled.

I’m particularly dismayed by the horse nettle with it’s thorns and absolute delight when sprayed. Glyphosate? Horse nettle soaks it in and multiplies. Salt and vinegar and dish soap? Horse nettle chortles and cries, “More, gimme more.” I spent the morning with spade, pruners and tongs (as opposed to bell, book and candle), removing horse nettle by hand.

Weeds.

Garlic

Every fall, I plant garlic. I’ve been successful twice–maybe. Most years, some wild animal comes along and digs up the bed. Or it’s too dry and the bulbs don’t develop. Or–like this year–it’s too wet and the bulbs turn to mush in the ground.

But Samuel Johnson might well have written “the triumph of hope over experience” about gardening and marriage. And this year, hope won.

I was amazed that the garlic turned green in early March. The temperatures stayed firmly in the 30 to 40 degree Fahrenheit range. Way too cold for most of my garden. Nevertheless, the garlic persisted.

In April, the plants turned yellow. Uh-oh, mush alert ahead. But I left them through May despite my urge to rip them out of the ground. Right on schedule at the beginning of June, scapes formed. After clipping them, I crossed my fingers. The plants still didn’t look right.

But last Friday, the plants had just about died back. Again, right on schedule. I dug them up and hung them in the barn. They need to hang for about a month before they’re ready for cooking.

I ended up with six bunches of six or seven bulbs each–or about forty garlic bulbs. That’s a winter’s worth of cooking.