July is when most things in the garden start their growth sprint. Tomato plants can seem to double in size in a few days after a heavy rain and bright muggy days. Lettuces will bolt overnight given high temperatures and bright sun. And if one is not diligent, weeds will overtake everything.
Such summer garden truths make travel problematic as each day of fun away translates into garden neglect and weedy opportunities.
Upon a recent return from an extended trip, I found that the garden was growing spectacularly. Tomatoes and peppers had started to set fruit, beans were ready for harvest, the second crop of greens were ready to be cut and the blueberries were ready to pick. But so were the weeds.
In the tomato patch, the plants were hard to separate from the weeds. A mat of desiccated purslane and sedge carpeted the soil. The greens were interspersed with crabgrass, clover, wild carrot and other intruders.
The day lilies have come and gone so there is a lot of dead heading to do. Bindweed, a morning glory lookalike, has covered sections of the front garden requiring a heavy hand. Instead of a small garden bucket to hold the weeds, I need a 30-gallon garbage can that must be dumped frequently. Jewelweed has filled in all the open spaces in the rear herbaceous border that I let stand.
The carnivorous garden is filled with Japanese stilt grass and I carefully pull each clump trying not to disturb the reigning pitcher plants. Plantain has started to flower and I must get to it before it seeds next year’s plants. I am getting a handle on the weeds but I think for at least a while I will stay close to home.