Wednesday, June 28, 2017

6 tips to ease weeding

When the weeds are larger than the intended vegetation, it's time, or past time, to take action. Last summer, my daughter, Elizabeth said, "Mom, I leave some weeds to create shade for the vegetable plants." She is a smart gardener and has professional experience, having managed a farm-to-table garden in Texas and now with her community garden in Missouri. Both of those locations receive a great quantity of sunshine, unlike my more shady Michigan garden, where weeds are not welcome, 
Here are some ways to reduce weeding and ease the chore.
1. Mulch to prevent weeding. You can use a number of items. I am heading out to the garden this weekend to rake water weeds from the pond for mulch. Other materials you can use, to avoid buying expensive bags of mulch include wet newspapers, straw, grass clippings, leaves, aged manure and aged compost. Manure should not be fresh.
2. Cover it up. Place cover down where you aren't growing anything, like in walkways and borders around the garden. We laid strips of old carpet one year. Black plastic with mulch on top, is good for the walkways. Rototilling between the rows is efficient for keeping the weeds under control, but it needs to be done every three weeks. If you use want to use weed block or landscaping cloth, don't bother buying the cheap woven kind, the roots of the weeds get stuck, creating more work. There's a bonded type, if you want to spend the money.
3. Hoe hum. Hoe the little weeds, that are less than once inch and pull the larger weeds. Hoe 3 to 4 inches deep. I really don't like to hoe, so I usually wait until the weeds are big enough to pull.
4. Wear your thinking cap (or a hat that won't fall off). Weed when the soil is moist or water beforehand and wait a few hours. Remember to water after you weed. I take a tool and loosen the soil before pulling weeds. A tool like the hula hoe which looks like a hoop on a stick or the mini rake or a pronged tool can help loosen the soil. You can use a hand trowel to dig up the big weeds. I do my best thinking while weeding.
5. Garden yoga. My friend Mickey told me her trick to weeding includes the three yoga poses of weeding, (no kidding). Bend over and pull. If you do that too many times, you'll feel it for a week. Squat down on your haunches. I can only do this for a few minutes. Kneeling. This works great until you need to move. You can add various yoga poses, like crossing your legs while stretching over to pull weeds, maybe meditate a bit too while you're down there. You can do a leg stretch in between weed pulling as well. The main thing is to change positions to prevent continuous repetitive motions.
6. Back exercise. Here's a quick back exercise that is like the reverse of bending over. If you don't have any health problems preventing it, lean back against a flat wall, press the small of the back against it with feet flat on the ground and hold for a minute or two. Repeat a few times everyday. If you have persistent problems, of course, visit a health professional. They can recommend exercises, or treatment.

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