Monday, September 19, 2011

What Happens If I Don't Weed?

I have the most awesome garden. It's somewhat circular, which makes it look cool, and it grows great things that I eat all summer long - from tomatoes to basil and chives and other herbs to cucumbers and zucchini to onions and garlic and ... lot more. It's awesome.

The only problem? Well, that garden only exists in my head. Somehow, I haven't gotten it planted. Worse? I haven't weeded anything all summer long. I mean all summer. Period.

I have excuses - they aren't really good ones, but they're excuses. I was busy with fundraisers at both the wee ones schools and that took all my free time during the day. Then it was really cold outside. Then it rained rained rained. Then it was hot. Then the mosquitoes came. And it rained again. And I was out of town five separate times this summer, putting my further behind on the day to day things I need to do. Did I mention it was hot and rainy and the mosquitoes yet?

Anyway. By the time school started up, this is what my beautiful garden (and landscaping) looked like:



I am ... really rather embarrassed by my weeds - but thrilled that at the very least I have no neighbors behind my house so at least it's only the neighbors on the side that can see it, if they happen to look in that direction. Which I'm really hoping they don't.

So what did I do? I started weeding. I'm not done, but I've spent hours and hours and hours clearing things out. My broken toe is slowing me down, but I'll get back to it quickly once I can put pressure on it. My experience means that I now have favorite and not favorite weeds.

Check it out. Who ever figured someone would have a "favorite" weed? I feel like it's really wrong that I do, but I have to share my new knowledge anyway.

Dandelions
I think we can all agree that dandelions are the bane of any garden. They seed everywhere if you don't get them before they turn cute and puffy, especially if you have small children who think it's fun to spread those seeds everywhere. You can't just pull them out, though. They have deep roots, and if you don't get the root out, they'll just grow back bigger and stronger. I have a special little tool that I use to pull these weeds, but they are tricky, and they take some time to pull. I've also learned that I have to make sure I get all the leaves gathered before I start using my get down to root tool or I miss it.


More embarrassing? These are some of our dandelions. I didn't know that dandelions grew this tall. Seriously, they are taller than I am. They're well over six feet. Did I mention lots of rain and then hot sunshiney weather?


Morning Glory
And then there's morning glory. I hate hate hate this weed. It is probably my least favorite of them all. Why do I hate it? It's everywhere. You can't just pull it up. It goes underground and its roots spread, then pops up elsewhere and continues to do this ... everywhere. I'm doing my best to control it, but it goes everywhere and climbs everything, and I'm concerned it's going to kill some of the bushes I actually want! Needless to say, this weed alone has convinced me to go buy a tiller and till the sod out of my landscaping once I get it all cleared out in the hopes of finally eradicating the morning glory. It may have gorgeous flowers, but I still hate it.



Thistle
Those are really the worst ones for me. Thistles, I'm actually good with. It sounds surprising, doesn't it? They don't bother me much though. Yes, they're prickly, but I have work gloves that protect my hands. They tend to come out fairly easily though when I pull, meaning I can get the whole root and not have it grow back - most of the time. My only challenge comes when I try to pull the thistle and don't get the right angle to where the leaves or stem start to break and they get slippery or break and don't come out cleanly. Then I have to wait for it to grow back and pull it then. But in general? Thistles aren't too bad.


Grass
Ummm yes. Grass. Because weeds are defined as things that grow where you don't want them growing, right? I love grass, but it needs to be in the lawn and not in my garden. These come up super easy, and if they're small patches of "good" grass that I can just toss onto my lawn in the hopes that it will take root there where it's supposed to grow.

I do sometimes have the really tall ones that grow that start to seed that I don't want to put in my lawn and so those go into the kraft bags. The good news? They come out with hardly any effort, they have shallow roots, and they go away easily. Oh, and they aren't prickly. The only bad thing is that I'm slightly allergic to them, and I have little red marks all over my arms and hands - even under the gloves - when I pick them. Fortunately, the itching and marks go away after a few hours!


The Random Weeds I Like
That's about where my knowledge of plants and such ends. This may also be another reason why I've never successfully planted and maintained my garden (and why I have a friend coming over to tell me what to do with my poor rose bushes and help me split my hostas).

That said, I do have more weeds that I like pulling - if I have to pull weeds at all, which I very obviously do.

I'd never seen this weed before late this summer, but there were tons of them in my weed patch. I don't know what they are, but they grow relatively tall, so I don't have to bend down very far. They are other ones that have shallow roots and come from the ground quickly. Plus, they have several branches that lead to one root, so it feels like I'm pulling out more weeds than I really am after I get these out.


These ones are very similar to the last weed. They are a low effort, high reward pull for me. Plus, they have a pretty flower, so I get a smile when I pull them, too. These are pretty sturdy, so I've yet to have a single one break on me when trying to pull it, unlike just about every other weed out there.


And then we have my "favorite" weed. This one has a downside in that it's ... slightly stinky, but fortunately just a little bit. This one comes out amazingly easy. When I first went to pull it, I was thinking it would be similar to the dandelion and be a pain, but it comes out amazingly easily. The very best part though? Its leaves spread across the ground, and those leaves are large. They for some reason keep other weeds from growing close to them, so when I pull these weeds, it makes a huge difference in the cleanliness of the weed patch.

So yeah... they're my favorite weed. And somehow, that still sounds wrong.


That said, I've made progress. The front of my house is completely clear. The side of my house is clear. And that weed patch? I can actually see some brown. I think that stuff is called dirt, right? If I keep it up, I may be able to plant some fall onions and garlic. Those are ones you plant in the fall, right?

Eh, let's just take it one step at a time!


So do you have a favorite weed, or is it just me? Or better yet... any tips for me?

And we're back to giveaways... want to win a Mechatar robot? Go find out what one is and enter!

7 comments:

Megryansmom September 19, 2011 at 3:15 PM  

I like crabgrass, but in my garden, not in the lawn. You let it go for a while and it spreads out all nice and wide and then you pluck that sucker up and it always feels like such an accomplishment!

Michelle September 20, 2011 at 11:24 AM  

Rita - As many weeds as I have, it's amazing that I don't have crabgrass, but somehow... that one's missing. I'm waiting for Mr. Murphy now :)

Heather E September 20, 2011 at 3:43 PM  

i hate weeds BUT i love that last one like you do cause it comes out so easy :) ps: i like your polish!

Pat September 20, 2011 at 4:58 PM  

So funny! I laughed about you having favorite weeds based on how easily they come out, and you even smile at the ones with the pretty flowers that come out easily...lol!

We have horrible star thistle with long spikes around their yellow flowers, but it does come out fairly easily with the full root. We used to have it all over our property and when the boys were young, Jerry would periodically attack the star thistle, along with the three boys and each person had to pull 1,000 star thistle plants. We have virtually none now, but it's on our neighbors' properties, so it's always encroaching on ours.

The boys all became good counters.

Pat September 20, 2011 at 4:58 PM  

So funny! I laughed about you having favorite weeds based on how easily they come out, and you even smile at the ones with the pretty flowers that come out easily...lol!

We have horrible star thistle with long spikes around their yellow flowers, but it does come out fairly easily with the full root. We used to have it all over our property and when the boys were young, Jerry would periodically attack the star thistle, along with the three boys and each person had to pull 1,000 star thistle plants. We have virtually none now, but it's on our neighbors' properties, so it's always encroaching on ours.

The boys all became good counters.

anymommy September 20, 2011 at 9:46 PM  

I love this. But I have weeds that would kick your favorite weed's ass.

Bri June 8, 2012 at 1:01 PM  

I don't weed my garden at all. I use dandelions for salads, the roots for tea, nettles for pesto, plantain leaves (fairy bandaids) for wound salve and raw for salads. Most of the flowering weeds have edible flowers. Dandelion is extremely healthy! The weeds don't bother my intentionally planted plants. They seem to like the company and it keeps roots moist so I don't have to water anything, and the flowering weeds attract more bees which polinate my intentional plants. The only things I weed out are poisonous plants but I rarely see those.

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