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I did my first weeding when I was 4 or 5 years old with Mrs. Pike, the old lady across the street. She was very kind to me. I leaned to make pies standing on a box in her big old-fashioned kitchen. And on warm spring days we knelt side by side in her yard and dug up dandelions with teaspoons.
It’s a lovely memory, but there’s a point to the story, too. Three points actually.
#1) – Dig your weeds early, often and deeply. Weeding is sort of like the laundry. You have to stay on top of it, or you might have to move away.
In my yard, lots of sleeping plants awoke this week. Trees budded, perennials emerged from the soil and weeds jumped up and raced to smother them.
So I weeded, uprooting a cart load of nasty vetches which I just took down to the street.
I don’t have a HOT compost pile– but my town does. Hot Compost means the pile is turned often so decomposition is very active and the resulting temperature kills weed seed. My compost is more passive, I only turn it a few times a year and I don’t want to keep digging these same weeds out–so they are going away.
And no more teaspoons. I have a nice weeding tool to get at all the roots like Mrs. Pike taught me. Don’t cheap out here. Find a tool that feels good in your hand. Weeding is a part of gardening. You will be doing it a lot.
Which makes point #2 good news–Weeding can be pleasant, especially this time of year. The weather’s not too hot. The ground is soft. And you’re outside in the fresh air with the sun on your back, not in some closed up conference room at the meeting before the meeting about the big meeting.
Plus–when you weed, it’s easy to see your progress. Messy looking becomes neat. If you want things to look even neater, spread mulch right away to keep the weeds from coming back.
Also–Weeding is even more pleasant when you do it with someone else. Have a long, leisurely conversation while pulling weeds with a friend.
Which leads to point #3– The value of sharing what you know and what you do–even if it’s only digging up dandelions. That’s how gardeners are made–we learn from other gardeners. And that’s why Melissa and I started this blog–not enough old ladies across the street anymore.
So thanks for the company. We relish your comments, questions and insights. Now happy Spring–Don’t forget to weed. And let us know what’s happening in your gardens now that the season is here.
Two quick updates–The big camellia I moved in early February looks happy with many blooms this week. But it’s not out of the woods yet. Summer will be critical. I’ll mark the plant so I don’t forget to keep it watered as the weather warms. After the first two summers, it should be fine.
And–three days ago these tomatoes weren’t ready for transplant but just look at the same seedlings now. Things happen quickly in the spring. Fun, isn’t it?