Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday VII

Weeding 101


a broad rimmed straw hat

an old paring knife

a smallish wide, shallow container

two kneeling pads

bottled water

Here's how I do it:

Always try to do yard work in the morning and evening, when it is cooler (yes, I am a big whimp when it comes to hot weather)

Start in the shade and then move along with the shade, staying out of the sun as much as possible ( I have fair skin, rosacea, and a small skin cancer removed, don't you know) This is where the straw hat comes in, too.

Use kneeling pads. Two of them; one for under your knees and own for the heel of the hand that is suppporting your weight as you reach. Especially if you are weeding in mulch. You can actually get splinters. Really. (don't ask me how I know that. . .)

Kneeling pads and dishpan. You can see my knife in the center of the picture. That's it casting a shadow

Garden gloves. Have 'em. Hate 'em. Try to use them at least once every spring and they don't last 3 minutes. Which is why I weed with an. . .

. . .old paring knife. To pull weeds, I place the weed between the flat of my thumb and the flat of the blade and just lift up. The blade supports the stem better than pinching and unless the weed is very ornery or the ground is too dry, they pop right out, root and all. Which is why I always try to. . .

. . .weed after it has rained or at least when the dew is on the grass.

I use a smallish, wide, shallow dishpan to hold the weeds--shallow enough so I don't have to reach too far (or knock it over) and wide enough that I can manage to throw the weed in the general direction of the container and get it in there without having to look up. Oh, and it should be small enough that it fills up fairly quickly which forces you to get up and move and stretch. This is a good time to take a drink out of your water bottle. It's amazing how quickly you can become dehydrated, so don't skip this part. Be sure to sink the paring knife into the ground next to your container--you might not ever find it again if you don't! (voice of experience speaking)

Back to the paring knife. I don't use the tip unless I come across a broadleaf weed, like a dandelion or plantain (we call them ankle knockers) Then I dig it out with the tip. Plunge the knife down beside the root, twist, and lift. Dandelions will come back, eventually, but you won't have to look at them for a while and that's good.

And this might just be one of the most important things to remember when weeding! PAY ATTENTION! That little green invader might turn out to be something good! So far this year I've found some baby columbines, cranesbill geranium, and a baby bleeding heart.

a baby cranesbill geranium

Mama Columbine

And look below! Lots of baby columbines

I'll let them grow for another week or two and then I'll thin them out and transplant once the plant gets strong enough.

You can find more ideas at Shannon's in this week's Works for Me Wednesday.

[UPDATE: Nettie gave me a related Works for Me Wednesday idea. Remember those volunteer plants you don't want to weed? Share them with a friend or neighbor. I've got plants from my neighbor, Sharon, in the yard and I never fail to think of her when I see them. ]

[UPDATE 2: Carol weeds, too--Texas style! And she remembered one of the essentials I forgot to include--some good listening material. I like to listen to sermon tapes or some of my favorite R. C. Sproul tape series] I stopped publicly listening to music a long time ago; you don't really want to hear me singing Freddie Mercury's part of the song "Under Pressure" with my earphones on did you? No, neither did my neighbors.

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