… First you weed then you lime….

To paraphrase and filk the SCA Birthday Dirge:

For success, you must divine
First you weed, THEN you lime.

Ever since the Consulting Rosarian school in Virginia Beach a month ago, I have been meaning to apply the lime to the rose beds.  I spent the time to calculate how much I would need and I purchased the dolimitic lime from Lowes the following week.  However, carving out the time just hasn’t happened.  I had not even had a chance to even LOOK at the garden (well, I looked at it from across the yard but not any closer.)  Either I have had other things to work on (like purchasing a new kitchen faucet) or the weather has been an issue (like the fact that it was pouring down rain yesterday… but that was ok, I had to install that faucet).  Well, I finally carved out some time today (at about 4pm), … and that’s where the paraphrasing comes in…

This afternoon I grabbed the garden hoe, a kitty litter bucket, one of the 40 lb bags of pelletized dolimitic lime, and the bathroom scale then headed for the garden.  I used the bathroom scale to measure out 18 lb of the lime into the bucket, or so I thought at the time.  It looked to me like I had poured more that half the bag into the bucket  so I chose to follow the well established rule-of-thumb to “Measure twice…” at which point I learned two things:

  • A bathroom scale is not a very accurate measuring device (at least not the one I was using and at the degree I was using it.
  • It really mattered where on the scale I put the bucket.  It tended to read on the light-side if I had the bucket too close to the foot of the scale.  In fact, it seemed most accurate when I put the bucket such that the scale readout was covered… which, of course, defeated the purpose.
  • I think in the future, I will grab my kitchen scale and measure into a smaller container (like a quart yogurt container) then dump that into kitty litter bucket…. that should give me much better accuracy.

According to my calculations, 18 lbs was what I needed to apply to the rose bed by the fence.  It was also the easiest to get to since it is only 3 ft wide.   Turns out it was also the least weedy.    I removed the watering/irrigation hoses from the bed then applied the lime.  At which point, I learned another lesson:  It is difficult to apply the lime evenly when you don’t know how heavily to apply it.  Eighteen pounds sounds like a lot but it only filled the litter bucket up about half way, which makes some sense since the stuff I was using was about the consistency and density of kitty litter.  I started at one end of the bed, the end with Old Blush, and started sprinkling it out pretty heavily, so it was basically just covered the soil.  By the time I got past the Madame Berkely, I realize I had been applying too generously and ran out with about a 5th of the bed remaining.  I tried going back and scooping up some of the areas where I applied most heavily but ended up going back to the bag and just getting some more.  Oh well.  Next time, I think I will try something like taking the total amount for the bed split it into two or four batches, I will then apply each the batches to a zone of the bed and do it lightly initially so that I have to go over the zone twice or more, so that lime gets evenly distributed.  Once I had the lime applied, I used the garden hoe to work into the soil a couple of inches deep.  Then all I had to do was put the watering hoses back…

One bed done!  On to the next

This was the point that I realized that what I need to do was WEED.   [sigh]  The iris bed has been completely overrun, as has the bed with The Fairy bushes.  I am ignoring the Jungle bed … it is ALL weeds. (well maybe not, I think I saw one or two Rosa Mundi still in there).  That left the OGR bed and the center diamond bed with Souvenir de la Malmaison.  Of the two, the OGR been was the lesser infested so I tackled it next.    Success!  I then went on to weed the center bed with Souv. de la Malmaison and got through about 60% of the bed before the light faded on me.  It has been cloudy all day so it was just gray all day so there really wasn’t much of a sunset… light just faded away.  I tried to put everything away but it was pretty much full dark by the time put away the tools, the trashcan full of pulled weeds, and the lime.  Tomorrow morning I will go out and see if there were any tools I missed in the dark and also, if I have time, I may try to put down lime in the OGR bed.

Enough for now

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