Maintaining a well-kept garden requires proactive weed control, which involves removing small weeds regularly and ideally on a daily basis. However, there are occasions when circumstances such as travel, illness, or other disruptions force us to be away from our gardens for extended periods. Upon returning, we are often faced with an overwhelming sight resembling a jungle. Here's a step-by-step guide to reclaiming your garden.
- Prepare the garden bed: Begin by ensuring the soil in the bed is adequately moist, either from recent rainfall or through supplemental irrigation. Dedicate a couple of hours to the task, allowing yourself to work at a relaxed pace while avoiding the hottest part of the day. If possible, choose a time when the location offers partial shade, as this will be more comfortable for both you and the plants.
- Gather the necessary tools: Given the size of the weeds you'll be dealing with, a small hand cultivator won't be sufficient. Equip yourself with a sturdy garden fork, a reliable trowel, and wear leather gloves to protect against prickly weeds. Apply sunblock generously, wear a hat, and bring along a refreshing drink.
- Pace your efforts: Realistically, you may not be able to complete the entire task in a single day. However, the goal is to make noticeable progress and improve the appearance of the garden. Instead of focusing on a small area and removing every single weed, it's more effective to tackle one specific weed or type of weed across the entire
- Assess the situation: Identify which weeds have already finished blooming and are starting to seed. Begin by targeting these weeds first. Insert the garden fork straight down at the base of the weed and gently pry it up. Once lifted, grab it beneath the crown and attempt to remove the entire plant.
- Address the large blooming weeds: Now, turn your attention to the larger weeds that are currently in bloom. Focus on removing these space-consuming intruders. You'll be amazed at how much better your garden bed will look once these plants are gone. Proceed to eradicate any persistent offenders that are attempting to establish a permanent presence, such as tree and shrub seedlings (unless you plan to transplant them), brambles, poison ivy, and any other invasive species you recognize.
- Evaluate the progress: Take a step back and admire your work. Isn't it already looking better? However, the task is far from complete, isn't it? Take a break, hydrate, and gather all the weeds you've pulled thus far to be raked up and removed. Give special attention to any plants that were significantly disturbed during the weeding process, especially if rain is not expected.
- Shift focus to individual crops or plants: At this point, transition from the broader view of the entire garden to specific crops or plants.
- Prioritize and weed thoroughly: Identify the crops or flowers that are of highest importance to you and thoroughly weed those areas. Finish off by applying a layer of mulch. Once you've taken care of your most cherished plants, mentally divide the remaining garden space into manageable squares. Weed one square at a time, adjusting the size of each square based on the available time you have. Remember to mulch each freshly weeded area before moving on to the next.