Work demands heat up
It seems like only yesterday when I winterized the riding lawnmower and parked it in the storage shed after using it to pick up the leaves in my front, back and side yards.
It would’ve been easier and saved time had I mulched them and left them where they fell to the ground. However, that would have denied me the opportunity to use them as a source of soil enrichment for my backyard vegetable garden.
Then came the unseasonably warm days of February, and I was reminded that another mowing season is about to begin. The presence of wild onions, dandelions and clover leaves little doubt that green grass can’t be far behind.
An early spring could add three to four weeks of grass mowing and trimming to an already full spring, summer and fall work schedule.
Add to that several additional manhours of grass and weed trimming in a 160-foot drainage ditch on the city’s street right-of-way and maintenance along the edges of a 150-foot driveway and patio.
A number of years ago Geanell and I decided that the planting of ornamental shrubbery on our property lines would give us more privacy and enhance its value. We chose yellow Wisteria for one side yard and used a combination of two red leaf varieties on the other side. What we didn’t realize is the amount of maintenance that would be required as the plants grew in thickness, height and width.
Birds use the ground cover as a habitat and bring seeds from all sorts of wild plants and trees. Some of the seeds sprout and put down their roots in soil that is conducive to fast growth and difficult to control. The unwanted wild stuff has to be removed with the use of hand tools at least twice a year, and pruning is a once-a-year chore.
Age and disease have also taken their toll on these plantings, resulting in a 75-foot row of red tips being sawed down and removed last fall. While the space they occupied will eventually be easier to maintain, the tough job of getting rid of the stumps and roots remains.
In a span of 10 years, strong straight–line winds uprooted four 100-year-old oak trees in our front and side yards. They were removed, and their stumps were ground up; however their roots remained and continue to be a nuisance. As the roots decay, mushrooms take their place, and holes are left in the ground. Loose dirt has to be applied to level the surface year after year.
With the vegetable–growing season looming, I’m getting ready for a busy time in a bigger-than-ever garden. Fortunately, steps were taken last fall to make getting seed and plants in the ground earlier this spring, providing we get a break from persistent rain storms.