Monday, October 25, 2010

Deep Roots

I’ve come to believe that the root of all evil are roots themselves.

Yesterday, my husband-who-hates-farm-chores and I tackled and culled the roots from one of our two raised gardening beds that sit inconveniently under a giant sycamore tree. There were roots big and small, long and short, and stubborn and easy. It was back-wrenching work, and today, I’m clearly paying for it.

The raised gardening bed is about two years old, and I really haven’t dug deep in the dirt since it was built. Every planting season (there are two, sometimes three in Southern California), I would just add our homemade chicken manure/compost mixture to the heap and mix it in as best as I could.

It’s been a good garden bed – not great since anything that grows there in the summer is only blessed with afternoon sun. But nonetheless, it’s been home to some showy herbs, a few successful tomato plants, the occasional zucchini, not-so-great peppers, and gorgeous coneflowers.

This year, after about five hours of prepping the garden bed, I took stock of what plants would do best in such limited conditions. The solution? Strawberries. They are hardy beasts which require very little maintenance. Hopefully my little strawberry field will prosper and take root under its now root-less ground. Plus, as an extra bonus, the plants could serve as an educational tool to the young children who live on our street. Strawberries can be irresistible to the young mind.

There’s no question I hate digging up tree roots but hopefully I won’t have to do it again. Besides, isn’t that the whole point? Strawberry fields forever?

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