Missus jolty do not bolty
How does your garden grow?
With groundhogs, rabbits and two little boys
Destroying all that I sow

We have a pretty nice yard.  It used to be farmland twenty years ago, I’d guess.  In any event, in an effort to add some shade and shape we have planted a ton of trees, bushes, bulbs, etc.  But there is a vast conspiracy of things actively working against us:

1) when they developed this area they must have scraped off whatever topsoil remained from the farm.  The ground is hard, clayish, and full of rocks.  Planting requires serious investment in bags of topsoil. It’s also rockhard when dry.  Digging a hole deep enough to plant a tree requires some serious work.

2) despite building a nice raised bed for veggies and putting not one, but two fences around the top, the groundhogs, those little beasts, are continuing to eat every leaf and flower appearing on our heirloom tomatoes.  The past few years we were late in our tomato plant buying and all the heirloom tomatoes were gone.  This year we finally got them, but the groundhogs are no dummies, they leave the peppers and watermelon alone, but chow down on the poor oxheart tomatoes.  The groundhogs also built dug a house under our garden shed.  That was fine.  Until one died, although at least it had the courtesy to do so with its back end sticking out (kind of like Winnie the Pooh getting stuck in Rabbit’s front door).  I nearly stepped on it walking out to the shed to grab some gloves. Yuck.  mr. jolt was kind enough to dispose of it in the field behind our yard.*

3) The rabbits eat our blueberry bushes.  A couple of years ago, mr. jolt had the lovely idea of planting some blueberry bushes along one side of the yard to grow into a) a source of yumminess and b) a screen between part of the yard next to our neighbors.  The problem is the bunnies keep trimming the bushes back so not only do we get only 4 blueberries a year, but the bushes are not growing.  They are still three sticks with branches growing out of the ground.

4) Ordering mulch.  This is the bane of my gardening existence.  We always over or under order.  This year I found this nifty calculator online to translate square yards of flower beds into cubic yards of mulch.  I’m not linking to it because it didn’t work.  We easily have 40% more mulch than we need.  We have mulched 75% of the yard and have about 50% of the mulch left blocking our driveway. Oh wheelbarrows full of mulch, how do I hate thee and my aching back. . .

5) Weeds.  You would think that after burying our flower beds in a foot of mulch (we have to use it somehow) that it would have some impact on the weeds, but no.  It’s like laundry.  The minute you finish one round, you have to start again.  And because mr. jolt and I do not believe in watering lawns on a regular basis (incredibly wasteful) the weeds are slowly taking over our lawn.  Our neighbors had the same problem and just finished ripping out their entire lawn and reseeding.  Not fun and not something I plan to do ever, if at all possible.

What yard woes (or lack of yard woes – I remember those in the city) do you have?