Sunday, 26 June 2011


Ok it is pretty easy to weed a garden before you plant things - if you put your mind to it and your back into it of course.

However, what do you do when you need to weed after the plants have gone in (and you have failed to mulch or keep weed free diligently every day)?

I had a feeling that my perfectionism would make me spend lots of time reading up about best practices rather than actually doing the job so I just got on it and did what felt right. I pulled out the biggest bits (which had scary thick stems and deep rooting - eek) then got a small hand fork and twisted and turned the soil to dislodge what I could. There is a chance that the weeds that have carelessly been left in the turned soil will just re-root. Morrissons dept manager extraordinaire, aka my boyfriend will be bringing home wood chip mulch. Morrissons have 2 for 1 on bags - I think he said they're about £2 or something. Jolly good!

Ok now is time to research.

I don't recommend typing "How to weed around plants" into Google - you'll get some wonderful info for a certain type of gardener - just not this one.

I tried again and I have found these tips:

* Give your garden a good water a little while beforehand (being careful not to splash the leaves of the plants you want to keep if it is sunny - to prevent leaf scorch) which will make the soil much easier to turn.
I have tried this the hard way. When we weeded the garden 3 weeks ago we did it with dry soil. Today I had watered the garden previously and it was much more fun. This is because you are suddenly dealing with soil rather than what feels like dirt.

* Weeds have a defence mechanism. This means that if you try and just pull out the weed it will break at the stem only which allows the roots to remain and thus it can grow again. Make sure you get it all.
I am confused, is this only weeds? All the plants that got damaged really badly stayed damaged (in the small animal trample-athalon) even though the roots remained undamaged in the earth. Here's hoping the mulch does it job here then as I have clearly half-finished my role.

* It is best to do weeding early on in the day so that any weeds left on top of the soil will dry out and wilt in the midday sun.
Aha - ok due to lack of sun in most of my garden this will not work...but this is hopeful anyway.

I read a few more pages and frankly weeding is a huge issue and not one that I am willing to cover fully. It is a subject that could clearly put off anyone who is still a fledging gardener like myself. I don't want to put myself off or anyone else. For example there is the Japanese knotweed (which I can't work out if I have or not) that actually has laws governing its removal etc. EEK!

Instead the above is just enough to be useful but to keep gardening lighthearted.

I had planned on preparing the garden better over winter and I can see why I should have done.

Again I'm not going to get too heavy with this but I am going to be better prepared next year. If I don't want to keep anything from this year I could:

* Lay a thick layer of newspaper, overlapping properly over all beds then cover in a thick layer of mulch. Apparently if you have a few months this allows the newspaper to break down whilst making it difficult for weeds to get what they need to grow. The mulch on top stops the garden from looking pants and keeps down the newspaper. I will need to do the same on the other side of the fence as that is from where most of the weeds are coming from as the other residents do not look after their section.

* In very early spring I will dump some wonderful manure all over to prepare the beds for growing again.

Or I could just continue with mulch and diligent weeding.

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