Early spring can be a time of hope and…. panic. The weeds will come. Dealing with an acre taxes my creative weed warfare skills, not to mention my time. I have developed my current strategy based on my need for sanity. It is not completely organic, but I have to wonder which is better: a yard with giant weeds threatening the well-being of the entire neighborhood or a politically correct system.
Since reading these books about organic approaches and doing some other research on what qualifies as organic, I feel less stress from the constant propaganda to be “responsibly” organic in my gardening. Organic is as much a marketing term as anything. It is much more meaningful to say something along the lines of “I make informed choices that are the best for me and my family on any given day.”
I’m sorry if this bothers any of the “we share the earth” people. It’s just that I don’t see why someone else should get to impose their decisions on me and my private property just because that is their chosen world view. They don’t like it when people do it to them, but there tends to be manipulative rage if I don’t agree with them.
So, here is my basic approach:
- After all that explanation, you may be surprised to hear that I dig and pulla lot of weeds. I like the physical activity and there are some locations that this is the safest for the surrounding vegetation.
- I mulch with everything from grass clippings to brick pathways. A layer of commercial grade weed fabric, topped with pea gravel, with pavers set into that, helps keep pathways under control. I rarely get to putting a layer of compost, or any other mulch, through the entire yard every year, but I keep trying.
- I hire help. Some of my kids are still at home. or living close by as starving college students. They do a good job for me when they have time. Sometimes, I also hire the older children of friends.
I keep chickens. There is one large fenced area in the front yard (we are situated a bit oddly compared to the street and other houses), that has been notoriously difficult for me to keep up with. Chickens have been perfect. If they don’t eat it, they scratch it. I love my chickens. I’m pretty sure they love me, too.
- I use Preen in areas like the work yard – driveway to the workshop; and in open dry landscaped areas. I can’t usually plan on getting the to raking in or watering in myself, so I make a good effort to get it spread in the spring, when the rain will help me out.
- I get my lawn treated by TruGreen. I finally chose this option after YEARS of trying to do it myself. I weighed the cost, and talked to them about my concerns for kids, animals, and the rest of my landscape and vegetable garden. The cost was at least a break even situation compared to me doing it myself, even before counting my time. The treatment does not mean we have to stay off of the lawn for days. I have watched when they are here and they are careful. The result is that I do not have weeds in my lawn spreading to the rest of my garden. Finally!! It took two years to see complete results (we had a lot of weeds), but it has been so wonderful.
- I try to be careful to avoid watering places where I don’t want anything to grow.
- I spray open areas and pathways with Round-Up, or a similar chemical, as needed.
- I try to walk on weeds if at all possible. Call it a power trip.
My motto is “every weed pulled is one less that will go to seed.” This helps me to remember that even if the yard is not weed free, ALL of my efforts to combat them count in my favor. So, go forth! Slay the weeds!