Fruits of My Labor

sept 15 tomatoesThe garden right now is Easy Street. Weeds and bugs have slowed down with the cooler nights and shorter days, while the tomatoes keep rolling in like it’s still mid-August. Mostly all I have to do is go out there with a gathering basket and let the gorgeous ripe delectable tomatoes fall into my open hands.

So of course I become ambitious. Shall I clean out the raspberry brambles taking over the little clearing in the woods where I like to sit and write? How about transplanting some of those ferns to the bare spot on the other side of the yard? Or starting a new crop of cilantro? Or readying the cold frame for a some cool-weather greens? Or mulching the heck out of places where I might want to plant more bulbs?

I did about half of those. The mulching was facilitated by Doug, who carted mulch by the



barrowfull. I’m using it to turn a weedpatch into a civilized bed of caryopteris and nepeta, two shrubby perennials that bloom blue in late summer. Doug also facilitated my tea break when, ambition satisfied, I plunked down into one of the new adirondack chairs he made. Tomorrow will be another Sunday, with another New York Times, and then more paper to mulch with. Perfect.

Gardening With the Sunday New York Times

herb garden

herb garden in august

There are many positive interactions between a newspaper and a garden. Stressful current events come at you more slowly when you read them on paper in natural daylight, while the peace and calm of the garden provide another focus when you need to stop and regain composure, so often the case these days. Raise your eyes from the paper, look out across the garden, admire your handiwork, and muse on what to do next. The garden is a place you can always do something about.

Sunday is the best day for this, actual news being confined to one section. Among the other sections you can read about gardens to visit, find reviews of gardening books, see photos of garden parties in rich people’s back yards, and maybe find a few ads for useful things to wear or use while gardening. Apart from all that, you can read the Sunday Times for the quality of the writing. Felicitous phrases abound. How can you not love reading that morning people are “firing up coffeepots at an hour usually reserved for mating fruit bats.”

And then you get to the prize at the bottom of the Crackerjack box: the crossword puzzle. In especially lucky weeks you get the acrostic, too.

When you finish extracting information from the paper, you can put it to one more use. Take the paper, a bucket of water, and a wheelbarrow full of mulch out to the next area where you’d like to kill a swath of weeds or grass, lay the paper three or

mulch nyt

mulch with nyt

four sheets thick right over the weedy grassy whatever, water it from the bucket so it doesn’t blow around, and spread the mulch on top about three inches thick. With a nice big paper like the Sunday New York Times you can cover a lot of ground. Nothing will grow up through it. It’s satisfying to see facts stamping out chaos.

mulch no nyt

mulch without nyt