Cam’s Gardening Tips: Weeding

Cam Flaherty here. In New England, weeds are popping up as fast as the leaves are Is your garden an interesting mystery (1)unfurling, now that freezing temperatures are in our past and the days are long and sunny.

I like to keep on top of weeds. See one, pick one. The roots of tender vegetable crops don’t like to compete for water and nutrients with greedy weeds.

IMG_3752Last year’s kitchen garden, despite a nice cover of salt marsh hay, looked like a maple nursery (except for the bed of garlic). Those darn helicopter seed packets really enjoyed the winter, I guess. So I raked off all the hay and hoed out the seedlings.IMG_3754

Edith Maxwell says weeding is kind of like revising a book. After she finishes a first draft, she needs to weed out unnecessary or overused words (“just” and “very” are a couple of hers). She tidies up the chapters, removing what doesn’t belong. She hoes out the competition, trying to leave only clear, vivid writing.

IMG_3756In the garden, one way to keep the weeds from popping up again is a good coat of mulch. I like to mulch with my own compost, but salt marsh hay works, as does a layer of leaves or even cut grass. Putting down a barrier layer of newspaper under the mulch helps keeps the weeds from even sprouting, since they need light to do that.

 

And then, to prevent Preston the Norwegian IMG_3759Forest cat from doing his business in all that fresh dirt, I stretch floating row cover over the garden until I’m ready to plant. It lets light and moisture through, but raises the temperature under it by several degrees. When I’m ready to direct seed peas and beans, and transplant out the tomatoes and peppers, the soil will be nice and warm. And weed free!

Readers: How do you prepare your garden in the spring? And how do you get ready to start weeding your manuscript?

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About Edith Maxwell

Agatha-nominated and national bestsetlling author Edith Maxwell writes the Local Foods Mystery series (Kensington Publishing) and the historical Quaker Midwife Mysteries (Midnight Ink). As Maddie Day she writes the Country Store Mysteries series and the new Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries (both from Kensington Publishing). Edith has also published award-winning short crime fiction. She lives north of Boston in an antique house with her beau and three cats.
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One Response to Cam’s Gardening Tips: Weeding

  1. A blank page, an unplanted garden — both can send me off to wonder and wander, instead of filling the space. So my main “starter” for the garden is to keep a wish list of veggies that I want to grow (helps to visualize when my back is aching from the work!), and make sure I turn over the soil early enough for it to warm (I hand dig). For the blank page, though, I can do something I don’t dare try in the garden: leave a starter phrase for the next page or chapter. Thank goodness, I don’t have to rotate the pages!

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