Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gardening: The Battle Of The Weeds

No one ever mentioned to me that when you become a gardener, you spend the majority of your time weeding.  Over and over and over again.  It's endless.

Sometimes it can be sort of zen and relaxing to sit in the sunshine for a few hours and pull weeds.  But then when the wicked weeds re-appear a few days later...the peaceful zen feelings are poof gone.

Below is a photo from about 10 days ago, pre-weeding.

And here we have the thrilling sequel, taken three hours of labor later.  Post-weeding.

But when the weeds re-appeared just two days later, I had enough of that insanity.  It's now full on summer up here in the North Pole.  Gone are the days when it's relaxing to sit in the dirt for three hours pulling weeds that will return in 48 hours.  So I took the advice of Pinterest and my fellow gardeners.  I bought straw.

Below we have the garden view a day or so before the great straw spread of 2013.

Actually, I first laid down a few layers of newspaper.  Then wet them so they didn't keep blowing away.  Then layered the straw on top of it and around my plants.  Due to time and heat, I didn't actually take the time to lay the newspaper tidy around the plants- it mostly went in the walking paths.  So I can already see weeds that did not get pulled before I laid the straw, poking through.  So this is not fool proof.  But when they get taller, I'll pull them and it should then deter more weeds for the most part by blocking out sunlight.

 Below you see my plants cozy in the bed of straw.

A bonus to the straw method is that it does a great job of keeping moisture in the soil!  I've been very impressed with how well it is working.

Sadly, I could not straw the entire garden, specifically on either side of the tomatoes.  I have seeds planted along both sides and I need to allow them to germinate first.  Some are really slow like carrots and turnips and parsnips.  So I will have to go back to the farm garden one evening this week when I have a chunk of time to do some weeding down the center tomato patch.  But it's better than needed to weed the entire garden!

How do you combat weeds in your garden?  Do you use mulch or weed block plastic or straw or ground-covers?  Or do you go at it old school and just weed as needed each week?

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