Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stubborn Weeds

The worst thing about gardening (to us, anyway) is definitely the weeds. Versatile, adaptable, insidious and stubborn, they are a nightmare to be contended with on a daily and yearly basis.

So this spring, at the beginning of April, we rolled up our sleeves, slathered on the suntan lotion (I did, anyway,) bent our backs and set to work cleaning out the garden beds. We spared no mercy. With a large, pointed shovel we dug into the soil, pushed the shovel deeper with the ball of our foot, and tore the weeds up by the roots. My husband, especially, was ruthless, going after the tendrils and the tips, trying to make sure that the entire plant would be eradicated once and for all.

We went a step further this year. Tired of expending all this energy and having to re-do it constantly throughout the growing season (and we have a large garden - the entire perimeter of our backyard, two additional plots by the house, two front flower beds and a small 'around-the-tree' plot) we invested in what I call a 'carpet' (although it's possible that that is in fact the actual term) Well, we invested in two.

One is thick and light gray. It's porous, to allow water to go through. The other is lighter and black. In both cases, slits, or holes, are cut into the carpet to allow the desired plants to poke through. The idea is that weeds will have a harder time self-propagating, and, hopefully, growing, since there is obviously much less sun underneath.

Although the light gray one has a lifetime guarantee, I must admit that I like the black much more. It's lighter, so it's easier to work with. Plus, being black, it more closely resembles the 'color' of soil. I can only hope that when the plants get larger, they will cover up the gray nicely, because the alternative looks extremely bizarre in my mind's eye.

It wasn't a good beginning. The gray carpet, being so thick, broke some of my cool-weather seedlings when it got blown around by the wind. I wasn't incredibly thrilled by that. However, we have resolved the problem by weighing it (and the black one) with rocks.

Did I mention that weeds are insidious? Of course, they manage to spawn their seeds even with the carpet in place but, hopefully, it will be much less than it otherwise would have been.

I will let you know as the season progresses.


Wander to the Wayside said...

You haven't seen weeds until you've seen Georgia weeds! I put down weed cloth in several of my flowerbeds and under sand and pavers for a sidewalk. To keep the weed cloth down, you have to put mulch on top, like pine bark nuggets. Anyway, the weeds had no trouble whatsoever poking thru the cloth, though it does make them easier to pull if you catch them early.

MWebster said...

*laughs* If only flowers and vegetables were as tenacious! We put weed cloth down this year, and it's true that the weeds are just coming up underneath, although it is also true that they are easier to pull when caught early. I suppose that makes the cloth worthwhile *sighs* Of course, having the cloth is a pain in other areas, too, but I guess there are pros and cons in everything!

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