Monday, April 13, 2009

Delusions of grandeur and the garden part 2

I am not working the garden today. There are two main reasons for this. The first reason is that it is too wet outside, and there just isn't that much that I can do outside with all of this mud. And the second reason I am not working in the garden for a while is...

Taz hate pain!

So, you might be wondering why I keep trying to do this garden stuff if I am such a big wimp.

Most of the gardening I like to do requires a lot of work initially, but after that, not so much. You dig a hole, put proper garden soil in it, add a pepper plant, surround the pepper plant with weed block fabric and mulch, and water the plant. After that, all you have to do is water the plant and pick the peppers until the fall frost. There is no more major work to be done until the next spring, and even then it is not that much work (if there is proper garden soil) to dig up the old plant and a few weeds and put in a new pepper plant.

The same is mostly true of tomato plants (though there is a trick to pruning and staking some of them that I haven't quite got the hang of yet) and okra plants and eggplant and squash, though squash takes up a lot more space.

Asparagus is more work to begin with, but even less work after the first year, so that all you have to do is check a few times a year for weeds and once or twice a year clean the area of leaves and such. And then you have asparagus for the next fifteen years or so.

Root plants are easy enough to get started, but they are usually planted too close together to bother with weedblock fabric and mulch, so those areas have to be weeded once a week or so. Still, if you have loose soil, and you remember to do it on a regular basis, it isn't too difficult. But squatting on the ground like that to pull a few weeds is more work than I like to do, so I usually don't grow much of that stuff.

Some of the herbs are easy. Except mint, which is not difficult to grow, just difficult to contain.

Flower bulbs are easy, except that tulips and hyacinths do not come back the next year as good as the first year. It is too warm for them here. And irises can be tricky. But for most flower bulbs that grow around here, you dig a hole, you put bulbs in the hole, you cover the hole, you put mulch over the hole, you add water, and then you get flowers. Easy.

So there is all this hard work to begin with, and then you get vegetables and herbs and flowers. And then you do a little more work that isn't so bad, and you get more vegetables and herbs and flowers.

Or, you can not do that hard work in beginning, and just have grass.

I hate grass.

Mowing the grass is just as much work as maintaining a garden. You push a lawn mower around, and then you get out the weed wacker for the spots that the lawn mower missed, and you get hot and tired and your arms get sore and maybe you have allergies and start sneezing and such.

And what do you get for your efforts of mowing the grass?

More grass, which you have to mow again in a week or so.

I have no use for all this grass. I do not have a cow or a goat that eats it, and I don't play golf on it. And it is just about the most boring plant I can think of. And after all that work, it just doesn't look that good. All the work that I have to do with the grass is just so that I can walk from one spot to another, and so that I don't have to pay fines to the city (and then more fines to the office when they eventually send someone cut the grass for me if I take too long to do it). To actually make the lawn look good, that takes even more work. You have to mow the grass more often and pull up weeds and such.


If I wanted to look out at the lawn and see yard after yard of the same uniform solid green plant, why would I want it to be grass? There are so many other plants that would do something just as good or better. Scotch moss is softer to walk on and shorter and never needs mowing. Clover looks much more interesting and doesn't get very tall, and when it is at it's tallest you also get flowers. Thyme and oregano and mint get a bit tall, so you would have to cut it once in a while, but when you did you'd get nice scent of thyme and oregano and mint.

So I have this idea that if I do enough work to start with that I'll have garden beds instead of grass, and that eventually all the grass in the backyard will be gone, and I'll just have vegetables and maybe a couple of fruit trees and them maybe I'll try some strawberries and a few berry bushes.

And then it would be nice to get rid of the grass in the front yard and just have stepping stones to walk around the flowers and herbs.

It would be so nice to have no grass to mow, ever.

As it is now, I have a three by twelve foot garden bed, another four by five foot garden bed, a four by six foot asparagus bed, about a four by eight foot space of mulched over Jerusalem artichokes, a three by three foot planter and a four by four foot planter, a mound of dirt about four by five foot, and mulched (or soon to be mulched) pathways about two foot wide between all of those things. With all that and another mound of dirt and a cement slab where there used to be a storage shed, right now there's only about half of the backyard that has grass and such to be mowed.

It would be nice to have another asparagus bed and to do something with the rest of the space. I know that if I actually had vegetables growing in all of that space that I would have more vegetables than my whole family could eat if we all suddenly turned vegetarian, which I'm sure that we won't. So that might seem like a waste. But I still have this vision of doing something useful and growing food in all of that space, and maybe having some friends over to help, and then they could have half of the stuff that we grew. And then gardening would be fun again, like it was when I lived in Fort Worth.

Right now it just seems like a chore. But still, it is a more useful chore than mowing grass.


Ananda girl said...

No, not a waste at all! You can always donate the surplus to a local food bank. I also hate grass. I'm allergic to it for one. But the care of the dumb stuff for what you get is a waste. In my house, before I lost it, I was in the process of tearing out my front lawn to make an English style cottage garden with veggies mixed in. I do not know what you would have called that. But I pictured crushed oyster paths between large clumps of perennials and bush beans, etc, the outer edge would be rows of cabbages and the like. In my head it looked really great. Too bad I didn't get very far, just my artichokes... the real kind that grow so tall and have such great thistles. If you do it right and cover the soil with something to keep in moisture, you won't use much more water than it takes to keep a lawn healthy.

dmarks said...

I'm the one who likes mowing. It usually happens a few times in the spring, and it seems like any more the dry season sets in and maybe just a couple of more times before Old Man Winter starts knocking on the door in October