This post is a migration from our earlier blog, February 8, 2009
This is one of those postings I had planned for late last spring, but it’s just as appropriate now, because now we can actually get a handle on things and not have to live with my results of last year!
So, what’s the topic? Weeds!
Humboldt County is known worldwide for one particular illegal weed, but it could easily be called the weed capital of the world for all the non-illegal ones thriving in our moist temperate area. There is actually a town called Weed many miles east of us, but it’s much drier there and I bet we would easily beat them in a competition of most kinds of weeds. It seems a new one shows up every year and it can easily gain a foothold in the garden.
Here is the latest bane in my gardening life, Little Bittercress. Actually there are at least four different weeds in this photo, but the Bittercress is the tall one on the left with the little white flowers. I call it Rocket Weed because if it’s gone to seed and you try to pull it up, all the tiny seeds shoot up into your face and all over the garden to come back next year. Argh…I can feel my blood pressure rising just looking at the photo! So, yes, it’s better to get all weeds when they’re young, not just because their root systems are small and easier to pull up, but because they tend to go to seed quickly and you want to get to them before that!
If you don’t, you get this little army of unwanted green marching into your pretty plot of irises. Like anything or anyone testing the limits, it is TONS easier to keep them from invading, rather than trying to push them back out once they’ve already crossed the line. There are so many parallels to life you’ll just have to wait for my book someday… Tracy always says we have to have more Nos than they have Yeses. It’s tiresome, but in the long run, it’s much less tiring than the alternative later.
And so, I resolved to use more mulch last year. We got a beautiful load dumped from a local tree trimming company right around our anniversary, and I couldn’t have been happier. I spent many weeks shoveling it around. Unfortunately if there are weeds already growing and they have a strong will to survive, they will push through the mulch. So, it was better, but not the best.
I found that if I put down a couple sheets of newspaper before I spread the mulch I got better, longer weed prevention. And since function often trumps fashion in my life, you’ll notice in a photo in the previous blog that I don’t always use newspaper. We recycle a lot of cardboard this way, and recently I heard about using old carpet for pathways. So, why not? I’ll keep you posted!