When I pulled up my small garden last week as autumn ended growing season for me, I hoed all the weeds that had hidden under broad vegetable leaves. Up against the chain link fence around my garden, now that vegetable leaves were gone, I found several baby elm sprouts. They had already grown a few inches. With some effort, I pulled them out of the ground by their roots. Baby elms quickly grow long, tenacious roots.
Those baby elms were determined to reproduce in places that protected them from being seen. Unfortunately, they chose locations where they would have no room to thrive. Whenever I found them throughout the summer, I pulled them out. In spite of that, they never gave up.
Baby elms like to hide between rocks or bricks, under vegetable leaves, beside flower stems, anyplace where they're hard to spot. Even though they're tiny, they know instinctively where they will be least detected. It takes constant effort to keep them from taking over my garden.
Now that my garden is hoed and raked with only marigold flowers and lavender still growing, it looks a little bare. The marigold and lavender plants did a great job of keeping squash bugs away from my butternut, spaghetti, delicata, and acorn squash all summer.
It is nice to have extra time now that the garden doesn't claim as much attention. I thought I would forget about it for a while and focus on other projects. But I often catch myself thinking about what I'll plant next year. In spite of the need to frequently battle baby elm sprouts, there's something about gardening that never gets old.