My new favorite tool is the pickaxe. This is a recent acquisition. – how I didn’t own one before I have no idea. Probably because I’ve never found one at a garage sale. Clearly anyone who’s ever owned one realizes how awesome these are, and are never giving it up. I paid retail for mine.
How did I find this garden miracle tool? Three doors down from mine, I observed a landscape crew digging a trench for a sprinkler system. At the time – I didn’t know they were using a pickaxe – I just thought they were much stronger than me and more persistent. I asked Johnny, the head honcho, over for a sprinkler quote for the backyard. This led to a conversation about that weeds were flourishing back there. I mentioned about renting a rototiller or perhaps maybe even a sod cutter to remove the top layer of crappy dirt and weeds. Johnny told me the best way to get rid of the weeds and is to use a pickaxe to turn the earth and pick out the weeds.
Then I realized that a pickaxe was just what I needed, not to turn the soil, but to dig up a border around the front lawn. The nice family that runs the local chainsaw repair shop were nice enough to help me pick one out, although they were pretty sure that 6’3” Dr. Malibu should be using it instead of 5’ me. I assured them I’d be fine. Sure enough, the pick axe kicks ass! Easy to use, it makes short work of removing the thick sod and breaking up the soil. It’s my new favorite tool!
Weeds will take advantage of the freshly exposed dirt but a pot of boiling water makes quick work killing them and their roots. Carting boiling water outdoors can be a little dangerous but the danger far outweighs putting chemicals in the soil or getting the toxic stuff in your eyes or skin. And there’s something really satisfying watching the gardens arch nemeses boil to death. Sometimes the weeds are persistent and require more than one boiling – but you can see the damage caused by just one application from a week earlier.
Because the valley is renowned for its clay soil, I loosened the remaining soil, added a little bone meal and compost. Again, the pickaxe earned it’s keep. Now I have a nice, nutrient rich bed to plant my favorite bulbs – narcissus, daffodils and naked ladies.
Naked ladies? Yeah – there’s nothing more fun than saying I see some naked ladies on the front lawn! But that’s the common name for a flower more commonly known as Amaryllis Belladonna. Most of the year it looks like a small agapanthus with it’s lovely green foliage. Right before summer, all that green dies away and the plant sends up magical rubbery shoots that bloom into gorgeous lily like pink blossoms. (Note that the plant is poisonous). I also decided to try some Freesia and alliums. Not sure why I’ve overlooked these before in the bulb department but this spring is sure to be a show stopper!
Here’s the flower bed – all ready to go with a nice thick layer of mulch spread over the top to discourage new weeds. Pretty unimpressive right now. I’ll have to plant some annuals to add some color – but the hard work – thanks to my kick ass pick axe is done!