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Let’s be honest, weeding is just a necessary evil of gardening. We have talked about it before.
Here is a recap of the top tips on weeding:
- Weeding is always better with a friend.
- It is easier after a rain.
But the most important part of weeding is timing.
Here is my recent weeding adventure:
These prehistoric looking weeds were starting to invade my front bed. They are nasty little things with prickly thorns all around.
You may use a trowel or a weeding tool. Or you can go all chemical on them with some Round Up. Regardless of your method the most important part is getting to them before they set seed. Let’s face it, there is nothing worse than tons of baby weeds to deal with. Also, don’t forget to put them out for trash collection instead of putting them in your compost. They are resilient plants and may very well take up dwelling in your pile.
Remember the next time you are putting off the weeding chore, be sure they aren’t getting ready to seed. If you wait, it can exponentially increase your work.
Definitely weed before they seed!
So I took my own advice last weekend and got to pulling to prep my beds for the fall season and I have officially named a new enemy in my garden–grass. I will admit the heat-induced laziness of summer set me up from some major work this fall. Mental note to self–don’t let the grass creep too long and too far.
I spent the weekend, not planting but pulling.
1) Crab grass is the enemy. I am sure anyone who has gardened in the south has encountered this persistent nuisance. Endless battle. And since it is among my flowers and veggie garden I didn’t want to hit with the roundup, so I just pulled. And pulled.
2) Bamboo-like grass. I don’t know the name. I wish they had a “Shazam-like” app for my phone where I could photo and find out. But this bad-boy is prolific. Another pulling session to temporarily rid my garden beds of this nasty little critter.
3) My own planted grass–Bermuda grass invaded my newly mulched beds. Roots grow strong with this grass species. I swear I pulled a muscle. I spent at least a month moving 12 cubic yards of mulch last spring to create a larger border bed and what happened? My own grass has taken over half of it. Talk about feeling defeated.
Have no fear, solutions are what I do. Here are 3 tips to control and eliminate my new garden invaders.
1) Hardscape is there for more than just aesthetics. You know me and my noncommittal challenge with hardscape. But I finally see it’s practical usage. Having a border of landscape timbers, rocks and stone really help thwart the grass invaders from taking over your bed. To-do list–border your beds with hardscape to prevent invasion.
2)Chemical or organic solution to consider. So crabgrass and many other of my new invasive enemies are apparently warm-weather annuals that spread by seed. So one solution is to get a pre-emergent herbicides, a “weed and feed” product. Follow instructions accordingly, but that is mostly for when the invaders are in your lawn…you can’t really feed mulch with chemicals. Organically, I have heard to use corn gluten as a good “weed and feed” solution, but more for your lawn than a bed. Since it is fall, the best time to apply it is 2 weeks after first day of fall (this year is Friday, Sept. 23). Then follow up with application in the spring. I am going to try spot applications to test this solution I heard through the grapevine.
3)Prevention and maintenance is the key. So my laziness really bit me in the…the only real way to maintain weed-free is by prepping and maintaining your garden. Layering thicker cardboard of newspaper when introducing a new bed. Mulch, mulch, mulch. And the dreaded hand-wedding, you must do this to prevent the these nuisances from going to seed. I can blame the weather a bit for my weed chaos, because hand-weeding is much easier and more effective after a rain–soil is losses and you have better luck getting the whole root.
Any advice out there? How do you control the grass invaders? Would love some tips.
I feel rich. We came home from the beach to find the garden lush and green–the rain barrels running over.
It was a very different picture when we left. The garden was so dry–despite my watering–I almost didn’t go.
But good rain changes everything.
Even the most mundane chores become very pleasant when the ground is wet and the plants are happy. Here are 4 things I like to do after a long, lovely rain.
Pull Weeds. It’s so satisfying the way weeds come out of the wet ground roots and all. This is wonderful time to clean up your beds. No tools needed. Just grab and pull.
Spread Mulch. Mulch retains moisture so I always like to spread it when the ground is nice and saturated. And you don’t have to move a truck load of shredded bark around. Use newspapers, cardboard, grass clippings–anything to make this wonderful moisture last. A couple of my beds were mulched with Christmas cardboard in January, then covered over with leaves. It works.
Stake, Thin and Groom. It is best to stake before plants fall over, but rain always brings something down. I keep a stack of bamboo and metal stakes in tool shed for quick fixes. Getting plants upright quickly is important. Half a day on the ground and they will start to twist toward the sun. This is also a great time to pull out extra seedlings and share. Plants don’t just come up easily after a rain, they go back down well too. It’s a great time to transplant.
Relax and Enjoy. Gardening is hard work–but a good rain makes it sooo much easier. Walk around your garden and drink it in. Well done.
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?