Back to School, Writing & Weeding

Well, it’s back to school time around here for Will and Emma. Here they are in their uniforms before their first day of 6th and 8th grade at Parnassus Preparatory School.

Emma and Will First Day of School at Parnassus Preparatory 2013

To celebrate their first day back, we stopped at Starbucks on the way. The coffee folks wrote “Happy 1st Day” on our cups…

Starbucks Happy First Day 

I’m happy to report that Parnassus Prep Day One is done and out of the way. It was so much less stressful today than last year. Experience definitely has its advantages.

The other major time commitment I’ve had this week is spending time fine-tuning and writing for my website at 6ftmama.com. I’ve spent the past year learning WordPress for my website and then GarageBand for my podcast. The learning curve has been tough to tackle with the limited bursts of time I can devote to my self-study of these technical endeavors. I’ve drawn on my own background in radio and TV to help me refresh some of my broadcasting skills. I have to say it’s a little like summoning rusty foreign language skills… but it’s coming back to me.

Back in the world of gardening, weeds have been a big topic this weekWeeds have been particularly prevalent this year – the conditions seem to have been perfect. I know weeds aren’t the sexiest of gardening topics. But, hey. It goes with the territory. Check out this resilient weed I spied along the road last week.

Persistant WeedInterestingly, these days weeding is becoming more of a science than ever. I had the privilege to interview Nancy Peters, the Weed Lady, for the Still Growing… gardening podcast. She’s my featured guest this week on episode 510. Even though our interview took place nearly a month ago, it was as evident then as it is now that there couldn’t be a more appropriate subject than weeds for this summer. Further, it seems all the garden bloggers are talking about them:

  • Margaret Roach (my favorite garden icon) kicks off her 2nd interview on her A Way to Garden podcast with Teri Dunn Chace, author of How to Eradicate Invasive Plants (another great resource for gardeners, I might add). Margaret is even taking what I call a “name it and claim it” approach. She’s challenging herself to learn the names of her weeds so she can better understand them and ultimately regain some control over weeds.

Margaret says “ID-ing [a weed] is critical to learning its biology… and how it really grows.”

  • Garden blogger Tom LeRoy uses the same technique that I favor by laying down several layers of newspaper and then covering with mulch and his latest post is called “Easy Weeding“. On one hand, it’s validating to hear that so many gardeners are using this method – it’s simple, organic and effective. On the other hand, I think every gardener is longing to hear of some magical no-bending-required panacea for the battle over weeds. I say we stick with what works – the newspaper/mulch trick.

Tom writes, “Is your garden in the middle of a major weed invasion?   If your cat wandered in three days ago and hasn’t been seen since, it may be time to take drastic action before things really get out of hand.  Don’t give up hope of having a fall garden on account of  the weeds.”

Notwithstanding the weed battle, I culled through my own experiences in the garden this summer to outline some lessons in smart gardening, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced digger – I call them “The 10 Commandments of Smart Gardening and they’re outlined on my blog this week. I’m sure you’ll recognize yourself in some of these guidelines, but I hope they also provide some inspiration for you, too – no matter your experience level.

As Don Engebretson, the Renegade Gardener, told me earlier this summer, “Any day you start the day out in your garden is a good day.” Get in the garden: pull some of those pesky weeds, get the peony relocated, and relax in your favorite spot dreaming of next year’s potential.

Gotta run – I hear the little boys fighting over the Wii. That’s the view from up here this week.

Still growing...




Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
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