I'll bet you're thinking Thistles is the name of my neighbor's cat, the one that uses my flower bed as a litter box.
But no, I'm talking real thistles. They began taking over my garden in 2007. I was too busy promoting my book to plant anything. I instructed my husband to keep the weeds mowed, and I'd deal with the garden in 2008. Last summer, I spent an hour or two every morning digging weeds. I cleared enough space to grow one tomato plant, one zucchini, and one acorn squash. The rest of the garden I covered with cardboard and anchored it with good dirt and rocks.
With high hopes, I investigated my garden space as soon as the snow melted this spring. It was looking good. Two weeks later the thistles had grown through the cardboard. Another week and each tiny segment of thistle root I'd accidentally left in the ground had sprouted a new growth. This is the stuff that breeds science fiction and tales of horror.
You can imagine me on my killing spree today. I'll wear a straw hat, jeans, a long-sleeved flannel shirt, and gloves. I'll also wear a dust/allergy mask which won't protect me from the weed killer but will hopefully fend off pollen from the flowering trees. I'd wear a HazMat suit but I don't seem to have one lying around.
There obviously will not be a vegetable garden this year. But I'm thinking a layer of thick plywood with raised beds on top would work for next year. Thistles can't grow through plywood, can they?