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Before and After: What 20 Minutes Looks Like (5) – Flagstone Patio

This stone patio is the heart of our garden, its vital center.

This stone patio is the heart of our garden, its vital center.

Covered in weeds and tomato cages, this area was a mess.

Covered in weeds and tomato cages, this area was a mess.

A round, flagstone patio sits in the middle of our back yard. I use it when weeding as a killing field where I can dump the uprooted weeds and let them wither in the sun before I add them to the compost. Today’s 20 minutes involved clearing that patio of these shriveled weeds. It took longer than 20 minutes partially because I discovered some volunteer potatoes growing in the compost pile. I transplanted them to a couple 5-gallon food-grade buckets which I’ve turned into planters by drilling a half dozen holes in the bottom. The trick about planting potatoes in buckets is that when it comes time to harvest, just tip the bucket over. No digging required… which means your spade wont’t slice any spuds in half and the tines of your garden fork won’t skewer any of them either. Wow, digging into that, ahem, “fresh” compost, made fully active with the warmer temperatures, was a “fragrant” affair. I’m glad I was able to cover over that excavation with these weedy additions.
Strictly speaking, twenty minutes of work looked like this. Ten more minutes finished the task.

Strictly speaking, twenty minutes of work looked like this. Ten more minutes finished the task.


Cleaning also took a bit longer than expected because I’d stashed our home-made tomato cages on the patio prior to tossing weeds last week, so I had to extricate the leaves from the wires. And finally, there were the weeds that squeezed themselves through the cracks of the flagstones: dill, various grasses, bindweed. I gave the patio a good sweep after removing the vegetation and the whole activity took maybe 30 minutes. This round patio feels like the heart of the garden, the staging area for different kinds of enjoyment. Now that it’s clear, I find it easier to imagine my kinship with this plot of earth. Onwards.

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