Sometime gardening and the necessary weeding remind me of relationships: there can be all kinds of advice and helpful tactics, but in the end what it really takes is commitment to the life long project. It is worth it, but there is hard work involved. Still, that also make it simple. As is often the case, what people mistake for magic is actually dedication. Here are 3 simple things that can make your weeding efforts more successful. One might even say they are like secrets that no one wants to acknowledge out loud.
1. Just do it. Weeding doesn’t get done by strategizing or good intentions or even by a guilty conscience. Weeding is only successful when it is actually and physically done. The hard truth is that no matter what preventative or management methods employed, weeds will grow just about anywhere in any conditions other than absolute lack of water. If you want them removed, you must take action.
2. Relax about it. It will almost always need to be done, so get into the habit of using it as a time to forget about the stresses of the rest of life, a time to decompress and unwind. Enjoy the fresh air. Revel in your progress, patch by patch. Avoid trying to weed fast or intensely, as that often results in bodily injury, damage to good plants, and weed roots left behind to grow again. Find a soothing rhythm in your sifting through the dirt, recognizing that although weeds are part of the curse, God uses all things for good and weeding can easily be good for your soul.
3. Go ahead and pull it. While there are good situations for using chemical agents (and anything that interrupts the metabolic processes of a plant is chemical, whether categorized as “natural” or “unnatural”), there is nothing quite as thorough or as cost effective as just pulling weeds out by the roots. It’s quiet, it doesn’t require selective weather conditions, and it has very low risk of harming adjacent desirable plants. In fact, there is nothing nearly as effective as pulling weeds when they ARE in close proximity with favored specimens. Even when dealing with weeds in wide open spaces that are killed chemically, they frequently need to be physically removed later.
There are ways to make weeding as minimal as possible, while still having a garden. However, gardening is not like sewing or painting, where you get done with a project and it just stays that way, all done and finished, ready to hang on the wall or wear when you feel like it. Weeding is a way to keep you in intimate, ongoing relationship with your garden.