March 29th, 2011

The Two-P Approach to Weeds

doug

I find pleasure and tranquility in a solitary weeding session and a sense of satisfaction in the tidy look of the garden once all weeds are gone and replaced with a fresh topdressing of compost. But when weeds have grown out of control—in spring, this seems to happen when you turn your back for just a moment—weeding becomes an overwhelming chore, not a quick once-over. Overgrown weeds get in the way of having fun in the garden.

When dealing with weeds, remember the two Ps: prevention and persistence. Preventing weeds from germinating in the first place is easier than pulling or hoeing them later. So I layer the soil surface with organic mulch. Mulch is a great weed preventer, and it has other benefits, too, like conserving soil moisture and slowly enriching the soil.

Even with mulch, a few weeds always seem to elbow their way into the garden, and that’s where persistence comes in. Weed early and often, before the weeds have a chance to establish vigorous roots, and definitely before they flower and form seeds.

Enough talk: Instead of clicking away at my keyboard, it’s time I did something about those chickweed seedlings popping up under the azaleas.  —Doug Hall

Comments

    Look forward to seeing the list!

    Another tactic worth mentioning is the use of cover crops during a season that you are not using a row, bed, or entire garden. Cover crops can provide amazing amounts of carbon to your soil when tilled under, and in the case of legume covers (field peas, clover, etc), you can actually put a dent in your nitrogen needs for the following growing season as well.

    One hint: field test your cover crops before buying them in bulk. For your light, water, and soil conditions, all covers may not be equal!

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