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.
Last 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.
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.
In 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 Forest 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?