What do you do when it rains?

We've finally had a few days in a row of decent, soaking rains (after three weeks or more of warm and dry) so that's great for the plants! The problem is it's Saturday and I'm eager to spend some time in the yard. What can do you when the ground is muddy and everything is wet?

Take photos? Yes of course, since overcast days provide better lighting than harsh sunlight in many cases, but that's not the answer I'm looking for.

Plant? No, unless you're talking about planting in pots. When the ground is really wet you want to avoid digging in it since you'll destroy the structure of the soil and end up with clumpy soil. Plus it's a mess! So what do you do?

You pull weeds!

First you catch a mole though.

MoleMeter 2010 mole capture count:  03

Super-whitey pointed this one out to me. I saw the soil mound but she's the one who noticed it moving. It's got a really bright nose, doesn't it?

So on to the weeds. I'll be working around the big Miscanthus and Spirea which I've talked about before during the cleanup phase this Spring. They're both looking really nice, especially compared to those previous posts.

The main thing I want to get rid of are the wood oats seedlings, but I'll also be pulling violets, maple seedlings, dandelions, and whatever else I find.

The wood oats have pretty tough, deep roots, so if you don't get them when they're small they'll be a lot more work. Some of these little clumps appear to be multiple plants:

Here's a nice sample of what I'm up against here:

It's got violets, a nice healthy dandelion, and a small butterfly bush seedling. They've all got to go, and come up easily when pulled from the wet soil, although I still need to use a trowel to loosen the dandelions first.

I also found a pretty decent-sized Miscanthus seedling:

A couple of years ago I would have potted this up and saved it, but I'm not interested in these seedlings anymore -- if I want more Miscanthus I'll take a division from the parent plant or one of the other divisions I've already taken. The seedlings I've planted before don't have the same form and have wider leaves.

This was a surprise:

It's one of the wire baskets that I used when I originally planted in this bed in 2002 or 2003. The basket was to protect the plant roots from voles. It's now so intertwined with roots that it's impossible to pull out, and makes this part of the bed undiggable.

So making my way around the Spirea I soon have way more weeds than I thought I would:

There are still loads of weeds in this and other beds, but I've found that if I weed too much I stop having fun. For me it's much more satisfying to focus weeding efforts on one bed or part of a bed, then when that part is done move on to some other gardening task -- not more weeding. You'll never get rid of every weed anyway, right?

Right now I'm feeling pretty satisfied, so I'm stopping.

Even though it hasn't been raining I'm soaked (and muddy) from brushing up against the wet plants:

Hmm. That photo doesn't convey the feeling of the heavy, wet sleeves, or the fact that the wetness goes all the way up the arm to my shoulder. Trust me, it's wet and unpleasant.

Are you wondering why I'm not wearing my gloves? I would have been, but I left them in the truck yesterday and to get them would require me to take off my muddy shoes, go inside and get my keys, lace the shoes back up -- way too much effort. Plus I'm not sure which feels worse: having wet muddy hands, or wearing wet, muddy gloves. I'll save the gloves for later today when I might need them more.

I've already done two of the three things I mentioned as possibilities earlier (photos, planting in pots, weeding), so what do you think I'll be doing later today?

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