This week it has finally cooled down. I say that somewhat jokingly, as it’s still over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, I still consider that hot, but it’s not over 90 like last week, and it’s not 10,000% humidity, so it’s a lot more tolerable for this cool weather gal than it was last week. And there is one thing that has been needing addressed on this property for some time now.
The weeds are as large as the plants, taller than me and you would think I was cultivating them. It’s ridiculous.
I am not. I really only intend to grow what we generally consider to be flowers.
So, I have gone out the past couple of days at lunch and done some weeding. And while I was weeding, it occurred to me, that there are some little tricks I learned along the way that may be helpful to a beginning gardener.
Here they are:
- Weed after a good rain. This break in the heat comes after some nice deep rains. While this can, at times, be messier (mud?), the dirt tends to work lose more easily and it’s easier to get the weed’s roots.
- Get the roots if you can. If you can’t, well it happens to the best of us. But ideally, if you get the root, the same weed shouldn’t grow back. Some weeds, like dandelions have notoriously deep roots. There are tools out there that can make trying to get to the end of those roots easier, but if you have let them go a long time, like I did, you might want to consider some sort of weed killing option. Pull it after you kill it.
- Wear gloves. Or don’t. I don’t. I like to feel the soil. But your nails will get dirty. They will crack. They will break. One trick I did learn, was that my wrists were sensitive to certain (poisonous) weeds, so I take a sock, and cut the toe out and hole for my thumb, like the image, and put it on my hand like a fingerless glove. They are cheap so if they get too nasty to wash, I don’t feel bad throwing them away. But either way, be aware of how sensitive your skin may or may not be and dress accordingly. (For me, this means long pants, sleeves, and a hat. Even in dastardly hot weather.)
- Sometimes, it’s easier to let it just grow a bit. There are some plants that can be hard to tell if it’s a weed or a plant, especially earlier in the season. Sometimes, it’s easier to let it grow until you feel more comfortable with what it is, or is not. The advantage here is that sometimes, it’s easier to pull larger weeds— you have more to grab with your hands. Below, are my before pictures- you can’t tell the plants from the weeds. Sigh.
- A Five Gallon Bucket is your best friend. Not only can you find ways to hook your tools on them if you want (they sell things for that), but you can haul it around with you and put your weeds in it, then dump the weeds wherever you dump compost. If you get two of them you can use one to sit on. 😉 If you have three you can have a partner do the dumping while you pull and fill. If you have four….. well, honestly, I don’t know if you can have too many five gallon buckets.
- Know what the poisonous plants in your area look like. The sooner you can identify them on sight, the better off you are. I am not even usually allergic to poison Ivy, but if I get in enough of it I can break out, and just those few times, I can tell you… no fun. And itch weed? Don’t get me started on that stuff– it’s the reason I look like a gardening Eskimo instead of a summer gardener!
- Water. Drink water. Weeding, especially in heat, can take a surprising amount of hydration from your body.
- Make a map. If you haven’t already done so, make a map of what you have planted where. Even the crudest map will be helpful when it comes to weeds. If you have planted rosemary next to basil and see a leaf that looks like oregano, well, you know it doesn’t belong there, so you can pull it.
- Prevention. Make sure that your method of prevention matches your end goals. For example, if you are planting a lot of “spreaders” and you WANT them to spread and naturalize, don’t use Preen. Use mulch or newspaper, something that the roots/ seeds/ bulbs, however the plant spreads, can propagate in. However, if you DON’T want them to spread, then you may want to consider something like preen. I use mulch in my gardens, if I use anything at all (some beds, I don’t use anything, I have my reasons).
There you go. I am sure that there are many more ideas out there to make weeding easier— what are your ideas?? Comment and let me know! If we have enough, I can do a follow up writing! And for grins and giggles, a collage of the work I did today, me when finished, and my supervisor:
Happy Gardening, Friends!
~Amanda AKA Anda