This year, my kids begged me not to do it. It created more weeds, they said. (Not sure if this is true, but there are inevitable seedheads in the waste fleece.) It made it harder to weed, they said. (Yes, I have to give them this one.) It made it so messy, they said. (Again, not sure.) We just love to complain, they said. (Well, not really. But I would welcome such honesty with open arms.)
(I think it may point to a deeper lesson about the lack of value of excessive house-keeping, but I'll keep that one to myself.)
My friend Marta and her family were over for dinner last night and I took her out to survey our garden. She was brutally honest, as all good friends are, and pointed out that the plants looked unhappy and lackluster. (I knew it wasn't my imagination!) And just where was the fleece that I usually covered them with, anyway?
Bowing to her wisdom, today I took the waste fleece out of the barn and decided to try a middle ground this year. My ever-patient family helped me weed one last time and then put fleece around the base of each plant, with space left between them for application of the hoe. We only water each plant instead of the entire bed, again to keep the weeds down, so we soaked each little fleece pillow to help keep it in place and kick-start the moisture retention process.
What do you think? Don't they look happier already? I'll keep you posted on the results.
Confidential to C./xxxxx: Happy 17th anniversary! It's been a wonderful journey with you.