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Monday, June 12, 2017

How to effectively get rid of weeds

Summer has arrived in Toronto. Finally. There is some confusion about the temperatures though. While the weather channel on TV predicts 34 degrees C (93.2 degrees F), according to my phone, the maximum temperature for today will be 30 degrees. Either way, it’s hot.

The 2016/2017 winter wasn’t a bad one. It was cold, but the temperature rarely dipped below -15 degrees C, (5 degrees F), and we only had a couple of inches of snow. All in all, a nice, mild winter.

Nevertheless, Torontonians were happy when spring arrived, looking forward to green grass, leafy trees, and colorful flowers.

It was a cool spring though. While other years we moan and groan about the heat by the third week of May, and can’t wait for the air-conditioning to be switched on in our condo building, this year we needed heating rather than cooling.

If you think I’m kidding … I’m not. Last week it was 9 degrees C, (48.2 degrees F). Does that seem like spring to you?

From what I heard Calgary had 30 degrees C, (86 degrees F), so did New York and Chicago. A friend in Chicago was actually complaining about the heat. I wasn’t sure if I should pity or envy her.

To make matters worse, it was overcast in Toronto and raining. Not buckets of water, but a steady drizzle. Combine the cold with the wet and you get miserable days.

While I like dark, rainy days, I wasn’t in my element last week. My hands were cold, my nose and ears were cold, I was wearing a woolen jacket, and my legs and feet were covered with a blanket. If anyone had seen me, they would have thought it was February instead of June.

The flowers on my balcony looked equally miserable, but now, after just one weekend of sunshine and a bit of heat, they seem happier.

The petunias especially seem to thrive. In previous years, I had them up on the ledge, where they got full sun, but they didn’t seem to like that. Now that they are on the floor, where they get no sun at all they seem to do better.

In addition to flowers, I also bought a basil plant. I love basil, but the local supermarket constantly is sold out of this herb. So I got my own. Now when I make a salad I can just step outside, snip some leaves off the plant and I’m all set.

(Basil plant in background)

I was just thinking yesterday how wonderful it would be if I could grow other things like potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, strawberries, etc. Unfortunately, living in a condo with just a balcony, that’s not possible.

Many years ago, we moved into a house with a rather large garden. The garden was overrun with weeds though. My dad told me there were two ways to effectively get rid of weeds … plant potatoes or plant green string beans. We opted for string beans.

Before long it was time to harvest. I filled a few buckets with beans, blanched them and put them in the freezer. After 50 packets I was done, but my string beans were not, they kept on producing and producing. After harvesting some more I gave string beans to my family, friends, and neighbors.

When they too let me know that they had enough string beans in their freezer I put the veggies out in buckets on the street with a sign “FREE – PLEASE TAKE”.

I can’t remember just how many families I fed that year but eventually, the string beans stopped producing and when the plants were removed there’s wasn’t a weed in sight.

So if your garden is plagued with weeds, plants some potatoes or string beans. After the final harvest not only will your garden be weed-free, you’ll have food in your freezer (and in that of your family, friends, neighbors and who knows who else) in the process.

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