May 26, 2010


Weeds are the yin yang of the garden. Recognize the ones you can work with and the ones that always must be eradicated promptly. This takes a few seasons to do as different weeds sprout and grow in different temperatures.

Grass is the number one enemy of the gardener. It not only robs your plants of sunlight and nutrients, but it can wrap around plant roots and strangle the plant to death. It not only starts from stray seeds blown in, grows vigorously underground. To remove grass from a garden bed, you must reach into the soil and remove the root too. Any little piece of root left will grow more grass very quickly.

We have a perennial buttercup here, which is very pretty, but nothing else can grow where it grows. It too must be pulled with its roots. Bindweed grows quickly and wraps itself quickly around young seedlings and old plants alike.

Dandelion is not a weed in my garden. Its long root brings nutrients from deep in the soil for my vegetables to use. When young its leaves are yummy, when large they cover the ground making a living mulch for my other vegetables. I keep them cut short so they won't make too much shade. When I need to add a plant to my garden, I pull out a dandelion and use that hole since the soil it perfect. In the fall I pull the biggest ones to dry the root for winter drinks. Dandelion root and leaves are extremely nutritious and should be eaten by everyone.

Learn about the weeds that are in your yard, be able to identify them and how they might be an ally in the garden. While it is true the wind brings in new seeds every year, mostly you will be dealing with the same weeds year after year. Some are delicious like chickweed, pigsweed and purslane. Some weeds improve the soil, some encourage decomposition in the compost, some deter plants. I could go on, I go into much more detail in my book.

I sprinkle fill my vegetable beds with edible weed seeds, collected the previous summer, to compete with the local weeds that are not edible. Eventually all my weeds are edible and there is no wasted space in the garden.

Start weeding furthest from the house. As you pick divide the weeds into 3 groups: one for the compost pile, two for the barnyard, and three for the house.

Weed early in the day.
Don't weed when it is raining, it is easy to spread disease in the garden.
Weed after a good rain when the foliage is no longer wet.
Weeds come out the easiest and are more permanently destroyed when removed each month two weeks after a full moon. That is to say, the week before the new moon.
Pull unwanted weeds every chance you get. If time is short, or the weeds out of hand, get rid of the grass first and then remove the weed tops (the flowers to stop more weed seeds being produced).

Weeding is the part of gardening that makes a gardener great.

Planting by the Moon - What will happen if I don't?

I have missed the first quarter moon to plant leafy green vegetables, like lettuce. In the past I have planted them late, during the second quarter moon. The second quarter moon is for planting seed pod vegetables, like tomatoes. What happened to my lettuce plants? Well they bolted of course, since they were planted in the week that encourages seed pod growth. Seed pod vegetables planted late, during the week of the full moon, will delay in flowering (thus making food) and spend too much time on unnecessary root growth. Perennials and trees, on the other hand, need this choice rooting time to make it through the winter.

May 24, 2010

Don't worry I am happy!

Short note for you special people who have been so kind to leave encouraging comments in my absence - THANK YOU
To say my life is blossoming out of control would be an understatement.
More to follow.