Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Weeding Is the Hardest Part

Look closely - there is a strawberry in there

Tom Petty said it best - The weeding is the hardest part (I think this song was actually published with "waiting" instead of "weeding," but we know what he really meant). I hate weeding. I love gardening, I love watching things that I plant grow, but I despise the weeds and grass growing in the garden. Living in Arizona, I have an especially difficult time in the summer, when our temperatures reach 115 degrees with 45% humidity. Before I start weeding, I have to preemptively call 9-1-1 for the heatstroke I am about to have.

But you know, the weeds and grass don't care what my feelings are or how many heat strokes I've had. With some rain, some irrigation, and plenty of sunshine, these things grow like...well...weeds. In fact, my strawberry bed, previously featured in two Renaissance Dad blogs, was so overgrown, I was afraid that I would have to break out with the machete in order to get into the garden bed. Finally, I just sucked it up and started weeding. I spent shorter periods of time for two evenings and one morning pulling grass from the strawberry bed until it was cleared up.

Going, going...
I am regularly telling students that we have choices to make in life. I often quote Ella Wheeler Wilcox's 1916 poem "'Tis the Set of the Sail." My favorite stanza is this:

One ship sails East
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
'Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.

Do you know what that means in the gardening world? Bad things will happen. Weeds and grass will grow in places you don't want them. Gophers, rabbits, or land sharks will consume your fruits and vegetables. Meteorites may land in the middle of your crop right before harvest. But these are all things that come with gardening. These are the things that make vegetables crunchier, fruits juicier, and time spent in the garden with kids that much sweeter.

So, Mr. Petty, you are right. The weeding IS the hardest part. But it is also satisfying, and I wouldn't change it for the world.

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