I read a wonderful Zen book recently that glorified not the attainment of one’s goal but the path towards those goals. It went on about how we need to take the time to enjoy the journey and as goals come and go, the enjoyment of the journey remains. I am positive this man never spent a day weeding in the garden. Whether you are puttering, muttering, or aching, weeding, like it or not, is your path to enlightenment.
Everyone has their own way of weeding, but your primary method of weeding will be to use cultural methods of pulling out weeds by the root or cutting them off at the root. Here is the quickest way that I have found to get rid of weeds:
Quack grass – Usually imported with infected soil. Use a fork two days after rain or watering. The soil will be soft and generally falls away from the web of white roots. If the roots are intertwined in a perennial you will have to pull the entire plant out, tweeze out the quack grass and then replant. Be as careful as possible to not break the roots.
Canada thistle and Sow thistle – are just evil and have deep root systems. Often the mother plant may live in someone else’s yard. Culturally, it is very difficult to remove by hand. The best method that I found is to fork down around 16 inches. You are looking for a horizontal root that gives rise to all of the vertical roots. If it is a new plant you can hoe it consistently and slowly starve it out.
Dandelion – Don’t allow the lawn to dry out and go dormant, as dandelion seed comes in by air and succeeds when there is no competition. In the garden use a hoe and let it die in the sun. Once the leaves are longer than your pinky finger you will have to use a dandelion digger and remove the entire root. Cutting the tops off will do nothing.
Annual weeds – These are weeds that start from seed, grow, flower, and reseed all in one season. Don’t use chemicals. Hand tools like a hoe, soil scrapper, or dandelion digger are better. You don’t have to remove them. I usually hoe them on a sunny day or a day with a good breeze and then just leave them on the soil to dry up.