weed war: part 2

I was out pulling weeds again today. This is not my favorite garden chore, but I don't mind it much. I usually pull a few weeds whenever I'm in the garden, even if I'm primarily outside to relax. Some of us are habitual weed pullers. My next door neighbor Betty is like this. She'll come up to my yard to chat, and as we stand talking about the weather or politics or the latest local happening, she will bend over and start pulling my weeds. Betty is a good neighbor.

Yanking weeds out by the roots is one good way to get rid of them. Spraying them with Round-up is another. Round-up kills anything it touches, but it is relatively ecologically friendly, because it doesn't travel in the soil or linger around to kill future plants. I'm careful with it and never spray on a breezy day. Our house once was surrounded by acres of poison oak, but thanks to Round-up that's not much of a problem now.

One of my favorite ways to kill weeds is to smother them. I have used this method throughout my garden. I like to put brown paper grocery sacks on top of the offending area, then cover the sacks with pine straw or other mulch. The area immediately looks a thousand times better. The sacks and mulch will break down to enrich the soil, and it's easy to make holes for planting.

Lately many grocery stores prefer to use plastic sacks instead of brown bags. I hate those little plastic sacks. But, If brown paper sacks aren't available, newspaper can be used instead.

This summer photo of the front garden shows how nice the paper sack/pine straw technique looks. 


Weed War 

The weeds will win. I know it. Someday when I am gone or else too weary or old to care about it, the weeds will conquer. But not today. Today I went out to battle and pulled those suckers by the hundreds. We have had weeks of rain, and I have been out of town and at work. Excuses. The weeds love excuses. They have leaped from the earth, hell-bent on taking over all my garden paths. The main culprit is a thing growing up to two feet tall with minty looking leaves. I don't know the name of it. It is armed with small fuzzy balls along its stem. No doubt each fuzzy ball contains seeds for five thousand baby weeds.

The good news is that the ground was soft from all the rain, and the size of the weeds made them ready targets. It was easy pulling, and after a couple hours, I have garden paths again. There are lots more weeds out there, but I'm feeling pretty good. Say I pulled five hundred weeds today - I bet it was closer to a thousand, but I want to be conservative with my estimates. So, if it were only five hundred, and each one contained seeds for five thousand babies, that's two and one half million future weeds I have prevented.

That's not bad for one day in the garden.Moss path near the entrance to the woodland garden


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