March is a great time to sort out any weeds that are showing after winter. Perennial weeds need to have the root sorted whilst annuals like bitter cress can be hoed off and starved of moisture.
Some tips for weeding a garden.
Firstly – Is It a Weed?
One of the most common questions in gardening is – what is a weed? Well one answer is that a weed is a plant that shouldn’t be there. This may differ from gardener to gardener. In fact, I like to tolerate daisies in my lawn because I think they look attractive. However, to others they may appear weeds. Of course there are some weeds that nobody would want in their garden like bindweed, Japanese knot weed e.t.c
It is tempting to just casually pull out weeds which grab our attention. However, if we just pull them out we do not solve the problem only prolong it. It is better to choose a small area and methodically remove all the weed roots in that particular area. Use a spade to dig up weeds trying to get most of their roots, spend time to shift through as much root as possible. After doing an area, go back in a few weeks and finish them off. Invariably you will have missed a small bit of root, but, the weed is much weaker and easier to finish off. A spray of weedkiller is likely to be more effective when you have already weakened the root system. The second time will be much quicker. Once one area is done, move onto the next.
- In gardening it is always more efficient to do one job at a time – rather than multitasking.
Hoe, what you can
A hoe is an enjoyable garden product to use. It is quite therapeutic to hoe a neat vegetable row. A hoe works best when it is clear where to use it. For example, it works very well in a vegetable patch with veg in neat rows. It is less effective in a mixed border where you maybe hoeing seedlings as well as weeds.
The Tough Weeds
There are some weeds which are just a real pain. I don’t know whether I will ever get rid of the Horsetail which is endemic in my garden. No matter, how often I pull it out, you never seem able to get all the roots and it just comes back. I have resigned myself to always having some in garden. But, I don’t get frustrated about something I can’t do anything about. However, I do try and keep it under control and prevent from spreading.
A layer of mulch can do a lot to prevent weeds sprouting. If you inherit an overgrown allotment, place a cover of plastic over to kill off the worst of the weeds.
There are some membrane layers which enable you to tackle weeds and then plant in small holes. These are time consuming to put into soil, but ultimately can be very effective and save time in the long run.
Ground Cover Plants
Make live easier for yourself. Don’t leave large spaces of blank soil, choose some attractive low growing ground cover such as comfrey. – best ground cover plants
Weeding is an essential part of garden. However, to make the most effective use of your time it is better to be methodical and really aim to eradicate the worst offenders.
However, it also worth changing your mind and not get upset if the garden is not weed free (see: Joy of gardening). Learn to tolerate the odd weed – it is as nature intended.