Irksome tasks part of every gardener’s life

Gardening is not all planting flowers and vegetables on a warm, spring day and harvesting warm, ripe tomatoes in late summer.

There are a few tasks that are unpleasant, boring or just not enjoyable, and I expect every gardener has a list of their own.

At the top of my list is watering, and last summer was a real test of dedication. This probably explains why my green beans, tomatoes and corn were less than wonderful and the root crops, peppers and eggplant were practically non-existent.

In order to get water to the vegetable garden, I have to either fill watering cans and buckets from the rain barrels beside the house or drag the heavy hose around two corners to its fullest extent. I don’t enjoy either of those exercises, and so I don’t often do them.

I had this “good” idea mid-summer of putting a large garbage can back in the garden, and filling it from the hose just one time, which would yield many dipped buckets of water. This was a wonderful idea, except I bought a large bin with wheels. Easy to move around, right? And of course there were holes for the axles and the water ran out.

Well, it made a good new compost bin.

Second on my list is edging. I only have small areas that need this treatment, the edge of the tree lawn by the sidewalk and the side of the front flower bed. It doesn’t take long with a sharp spade, but I just cannot get in the mood to do it, and so I don’t. Not very often, that is.

And then there’s deadheading. I don’t know why that bothers me so much. The results are immediate, and it is a necessary job if the pansies, the butterfly bushes, the coreopsis and the like are to look tidy and keep pushing out new blooms, but I really have to psych myself to get it done.

I can hear you thinking, “She forgot weeding!”

Actually and peculiarly, I quite enjoy weeding. At some times of the year, it becomes rather overwhelming, but I tackle one area at a time, and the satisfaction of a clean garden bed is reward enough.

My sister is my inspiration here. Weeds are simply afraid to pop up in her flower beds, and if she did see one from the bedroom window, I think she would get up in the night to go downstairs and pull it.

Unfortunately weeds are not afraid of me, but I keep fighting the fight, from wild onion in the spring to the last black medic in the fall.

My last bete noir is pulling out plants that still have life in them. I was at Kingwood Gardens in Mansfield once while they were taking up the remains of their gorgeous display of tulips and throwing them into baskets. I made the mistake of asking a worker what they did with them, and he had a one-word answer: “Compost.” It gave me chills.

There are many reasons for getting rid of plants; disease, improper growth habit, planted in the wrong place or simply tired of it and making room for something else. But it is hard.

Well, enough of bad thoughts. Today, I planted pansies and did quite a bit of weeding, so the world looks good to me. And with the rain that is sheeting down at this moment, I will not have to water anything for a long time.

Janet Del Turco is a local gardener and a graduate of the Ohio State University Master Gardener program. Contact her at