Brambles Be Gone!

Wild Raspberries aka Bramble

Wild Raspberries aka Bramble

Just off the back door of the Home Farm house in Lodi there is a gorgeous slate patio that for decades has been a great place to sit in the sun with your tea or perhaps a small chore like shelling peas or shucking corn.

I remember fondly my grandmother sitting out there and her small frame was always overshadowed by this forest of Jurassic ferns and bright orange tiger lilies. While gorgeous and verdant this plant menagerie has really gotten overgrown in recent years to the point of utter wildness.

On top of the fact that the ferns and lilies (on their own wonderful plants for different reasons–the spiky, regal ferns contrasting with the wild cheerfulness of the tiger lilies) had themselves grown out of control, there was an interloper in their midst causing all sorts of problems. Wild Raspberry, aka Bramble (*cue spaghetti western theme music*).

Now this is a tough one because it’s hard to really hate raspberries. I mean come on–they’re tart and sweet, we can make delicious jams out of them, their bright colours perk up any garden and they’re so darn cute and bulbous!

But there’s a terrifyingly dark side to raspberries:
1) the thorns can be deadly (ok, not deadly as in they’ll kill you but they will scratch the heck out of any exposed skin)
2) they grow wild and choke other plants
3) they don’t actually always produce berries and
4) they drive my brother to distraction (ok so that’s kind of amusing to watch, but terrible nonetheless).

We Coverts managed to show our true colours in how we each addressed this bramble issue:
Andrew: Pure rage that manifested itself in machete attacks on bramble bushes all over Seneca County
Dad: Hesitancy that was eventually worn down by familial insistence that we had to deal with these nasty wild pricker bushes
Me: Research leading to methodical pruning and weeding eventually giving way to real enjoyment at hauling these evil things up by the roots (pronounced RUHTS for the purposes of this illustration)

Despite our different approaches we did agree that we needed to do something about them and now, thanks to a little elbow grease, good gloves and a sturdy flannel jacket with long sleeves, the Raspberries/Brambles/Pricker Bushes are no more.

The lovely back slate patio is a little more tame and just waiting for that perfect spring early evening for a whack of peas that need shelling.

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Organizing the Garden Shed

Garden Tools

Garden Tools

So next weekend is our first trip to Lodi in a while–in fact, I think since November. We have a lot of work to do to get the garden ready for the year but we will probably not get to do too much of that because it’s still a bit too early in the season.

I have a couple of goals however that I think could really help us get ready and organized for the coming garden season. I would like to whip our garden shed into shape and arrange tools, shelves and other materials so that when it comes to the hard work we have everything at the ready.

Last year had a large amount of gardening equipment already on the premises which was kind of surprising since it was the first year we created a garden and also not at all surprising because our garden is on a farm.

However the hoes, rakes, shovels, stakes, gloves, spades and posts lived in any one of four different locations at any time: the garage, the far end of the second barn, the near end of the first barn or the woodshed. Which makes for inefficient work patterns, grumpiness and conversations like this:

“Where’s the _______?”
“I don’t know, look in the barn”
“Which barn”
“The big barn”
“It’s not there”
“Look in the other barn”
“It’s not there either”
“Look in the shed”
“Oh forget it I’ll use my boot”

Or similar.

I also think that having clear and consistent places for your precious equipment leads to an attitude of better care for your tools. For those of us (me) who were (rightfully) reprimanded for leaving potato forks in the ground overnight thus leading to rust could use some reminding of how to best care for the gardening equipment.

So going into this new season I have a vision of a perfectly organized shed where the tools hang in their rightful places, the materials are piled neatly and I can *always* find my gloves. “Anyone seen my gloves?” “Look in the barn.” “Which barn?” etc…

Anyone have any advice on successfully organizing a garden shed? We need all the help we can get!