Weeds are something that every gardener has to accept. If you don’t have the green thumb, let me put it into more familiar terms. They’re like taking out the trash. The bin is going to fill up all the time, and you have to do something about it because if it sits in your house forever, its going to smell really bad and you will get rats. The same way, weeds are always going to try and mooch of your other plants and you have to get rid of them, or else your harvest will be poor. In the picture to the left, you can see the long stalks of the red onions shooting out of the ground, which is all there should be. Instead, tons of tiny little plants that seem harmless litter the ground. Nope, those are the spawn of Satan. I’ve always been fascinated with the ability of a common weed to assume a form in which it doesn’t seem like a bad plant. Heck, the ones in the picture even have dainty little orange flowers. It was a long morning of removing the little devils, but the garden finally looks clean.
Weeds aren’t the only issue a gardener has to deal with. Animals can also be a nuisance. That cute little rabbit you are excited to see in your backyard periodically isn’t an innocent little ball of fur. Its a thief ready to sink its teeth into your cantaloupe patch the moment you turn your back on it. I actually had a rabbit problem, which is why all three generations, me, my father, and my grandfather, built a mesh fence around the entire garden. It took three people to deal with a creature smaller than a soccer ball. Just great. Just when we thought we were problem free, a delightful little thing called a mole made its way underneath the fence and started getting to the plants from below the dirt. To deal with these critters, we put small tubes into the dirt that emit a sound every few minutes that scares away moles. Yay, the moles are gone! Problem solved right? Wrong, there are things called gophers. If you take a look at the picture to the right, the gophers were able to eat the entire onion from below the ground and simply left the stalk behind. Hopefully, their resulting bad breath causes other gophers to drive them out of the garden, resulting in a smaller gopher population :). But, these little guys aren’t all bad. I need to periodically break and aerate the soil so that its easier for the roots to move around. I don’t have claws and giant sharp teeth that can bore through dirt at a million miles per hour, but gophers do. A couple onion plants lost here and there in exchange for gophers doing my job for me isn’t such a bad deal.