|The redbud in this picture is a weed.|
This has been a marvelous growing season for weeds, has it not?
I feel like I can’t turn my back on a flower border or vegetable garden bed for more than two seconds before a new weed seed germinates. There are weeds everywhere.
I clear out weeds in the morning and by nightfall they are back, and it seems as though they’ve brought their friends with them.
I look for weeds, find none, but the very next day, there is a weed in the spot where I looked before that is now three feet tall. How did I not see it? The weeds hide like zucchini squash and only show themselves when they are huge.
From thistles to dandelions to redbud seedlings, I have enough weeds in my garden right now to qualify for some kind of world-record, I’m sure.
What’s a gardener to do?
I long ago abandonded herbicides as too expensive and not worth the chemical exposure in my little garden. I have explored so-called organic herbicides, including vinegar, and determined they are more hype than help. There is a reason they aren’t labeled as herbicides and not sold as herbicides and that’s because they really don’t work that well as herbicides. And they can be just as harmful to the garden and the garden soil as chemical herbicides.
I think about using boiling water, but on the scale I would need to use it, it seems a bit impractical. To get to all the weeds, I’d be running back and forth with multiple tea kettles of boiling water all day.
Yes, many a hot afternoon, I’ve sat inside, where it is cool, and plotted and schemed and though about how to vanquish weeds from my garden. Meanwhile, outside, they continue to grow. And grow. And flower. And seed. And spread roots.
I could pull just a few weeds and leave them lying around the garden so the other weeds see them, get scared, and run for their lives. If only weeds could see and run away.
I could toy with the weeds, and often do, by letting them grow just to the point of flowering, then cutting them down or pulling them out, depending on their size. I know this looks like procrastination on my part, but I really am just toying with the weeds, giving them hope, then dashing that hope. I want them to get demoralized and give up. If only they would.
I could pamper the weeds and make them feel like they are the most prized plants in the garden. Then they would surely reward me by dying off. After all, it seems to me when we fuss over a plant too much, it usually dies from too much care. But I’m afraid that might backfire on me, because weeds don’t behave like ordinary garden plants. No. They are stronger, faster growing, and determined to take over.
What will I really do about my weeds? I’ll just keep pulling them and whacking them back and get busy applying a good layer of mulch to the garden borders. If I do that, I’m bound to have some success with weed control, at least enough success so that my garden no longer qualifies for a world-record.
In the meantime, I wonder if signs at the gates announcing “no weeds allowed” would keep some of the weeds from coming into my garden?