“And what is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not been discovered.”
---Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Ralph got it wrong.”
---Judy Marie Thomas
I love to weed (I know, I am an oddball, but I cannot think of a single indoor chore that I like as much as weeding! Though that may say more about my housewifery skills than anything). Does anyone really need instruction on how to weed? It’s just pull and rip right? Well, there are a few conditions and tips that make weeding easier, especially if you have large areas to weed as I recently did to my deep shame. Here goes:
Wet soil versus dry: It is much harder to weed well when the soil is dry versus wet. In dry soil, you tend to rip off only the weed leaves, leaving the roots to sprout and re-grow. If your soil is dry, wait until after a rain or thorough watering to pull weeds.
Start at outer edges: when you do start to weed, start at the outer edges of the weedy area and work your way inwards. This loosens the soil on the edges, making each subsequent section of weeds easier to get up by the root.
Tall then low: pulling tall weeds first breaks up the soil to more easily get the mat forming weeds pulled up.
Too small to weed versus just right: when weed seedlings are tiny, they are very hard to pull up, especially with a gloved hand (I recommend rubber coated, snug fitting gloves for weeding). Don’t wait until the weed gets well established, but if you find the weeds are too tiny to pull, wait a day or two.
Weed before the plants set seed!!! This is really important. Some single weedy plants can set hundreds of seeds, up to a thousand, and some are too tiny to really see. You do not want this to happen! Pull the weeds before they flower and set seed (and keep in mind that some weed flowers are small and you will need to observe them closely).
Tap-rooted plants: some plants with deep tap roots (dandelions and pokeweeds are two or my enemies with tap roots) are harder to pull and must be thoroughly dug, getting up as much of the weed as possible…and this is also best to do in moist soil.
Mulch: after you weed, mulch bare soil- I like to use grass clippings from an untreated lawn or pine needles. Otherwise, you will be doing this again soon!
Some people don’t hold with weeding at all. They just mulch heavily and plant right into the mulch. I may experiment with a little this next year.