Last night, after work, I spent an hour and a half weeding. The process starts with me getting home from work, changing my clothes, packing up my gardening bag, including a water bowl for Healy and a kneeling mat for me for weeding, and walking a little over a mile to the plot. I tie Healy to the bench so she's nearby, give her a bone, and get down in the dirt. After 30 minutes I may have even put in a frantic call to Morgan that went a little like this: "Hi, it's me. If you get home from work, please meet me at the garden to help weed. Im going to be here all night! Please!! Bring beer!"
He didn't actually make it home in time, but I did a hell of a job weeding. Healy even helped by eating some weeds in the walkway. I also watched her dig a hole and literally bury her bone (ok, a dog cookie shaped like a bone). Probably the cutest thing I've ever seen her do. She was filthy afterwards.
Weeding is so helpful not only because you remove plants that might otherwise compete with your vegetable plants, but because it gives you a look at the garden that you maybe otherwise wouldn't get. A really close look! The zucchini is starting to flower! I believe they're male flowers because they didn't have fruit at their base-not yet anyway. Peppers are still fruiting and producing more flowers. The grape tomatoes are flowering and I even saw a tomato forming! I hope everyone likes grape tomatoes. I hope I like picking them....looks like I might be busy picking, cooking, and preserving tomatoes this year.
The eggplant needed the most weeding. Probably because I was responsible for that section last time and did a pretty bad job. Morgan's half was in much better shape. This time I left no weed unturned. I also noticed the eggplant were still being eaten. By the time I got to the last plant I literally saw what was eating them. I can't name it, but they were tiny black beetle-like bugs. I took my "pesticide" (ie, soapy water) and doused those buggers. I ended up doing this three times because I kept finding more. All these weeds and these buggers need to eat eggplant leaves? I also hand removed several of them (the most humane and earth-friendly method). I never thought I'd hand remove insects. I've heard about it, read about it, and always dismissed it, but there I was, picking off tiny beetles in order to save my plants. I probably need to make more frequent inspections. Sigh.
I also picked a head of lettuce that we ate with dinner. Such a treat! Once I pick the rest of the lettuce (4 more heads) I'll have room for beans.
Here's last night's dinner! Bell & Evans chicken breasts, made with rosemary from our garden, swiss chard, grown locally through our CSA (community supported agriculture) share and picked two days earlier, flavored with organic garlic, and I made organic baked sweet potato fries, and a salad picked an hour earlier from our own Bibb lettuce crop.
Not bad looking, right?