Gardening in the Coulee
Letters to the Editor
A friend, Frank Ward, said that if you are a gardener, you have got to love weeding. In my life, I have discovered many truisms that I like to call BFOs: Brilliant Flashes of the Obvious. Spot on!
This is my 6th Summer growing a garden — in my whole life. I’m from San Francisco where if we want a greener lawn, we paint our concrete a richer green, or talk to Mr. Gardener. I decided to garden my first year here, and let me tell you what does NOT work:
1. Planting whatever the heck you want just because you like it
2. Planting in April because it’s warm
3. Seeing the spacing requirements for vegetables as mere suggestions
4. Feeding sporadically
5. Thinking that love will get you through.
Here’s what does work:
1. Plant when the locals tell you to plant
2. Plant what the locals tell you to plant
3. Space the plants the way the locals do
4. Feed when the locals do
5. Learn to love weeding like the locals do
6. Make sure your BFF is a master gardener with good common sense and a loving, soft hand to guide you. This is priceless and keeps wild gardening shenanigans from becoming terminal to plants, thus dashing your gardening dreams and dampening gardening enthusiasm.
Black (soil with no weeds) is the new green. Having a weed-controlled garden (you are never, ever weed-free) is better than having a wonderful lawn. Gasp! We have automatic sprinkler systems and I lay in bed and listen to them come on and mentally track them throughout the cycle, worrying that one of them did not fire and I have thirsty and hot areas. I put in two new jalapenos and a dill plant tonight, and after turning water on to that area, I must have checked five times to make sure they were getting wet. I am so happy that my potato patch is outside of my fence and that my neighbors can see how beautiful, strong and weeded they are. I really love that. Now, I’m learning to love weeding. I love weeding. Really, I do.