Either I'm getting old and feeble OR the weeds this spring are worse than I remember. I have weeds in beds that I know I cleared last fall, and have four inches of mulch., plus landscape fabric! Anyone feel the weeds are on steroids this year?
Sam, it's not that you're getting feeble or old but that you've created a wonderful environment for growing weeds! Sad but true.This is especially true if the mulch has broken down over the winter and has become finer. What you have created there, so to speak, is a cleared run way ---- all prepped and ready for "incoming". And weeds will find their way in; they'll creep in from other areas, get dropped in, or even fly in on the wind.
I learned long ago to never use landscape fabric when fighting weeds. They're much more difficult to remove when they do grow on top of this stuff because the roots become embedded in the fabric bottom. Then when you try to pull them out, you're pulling the up fabric, which is weighted down by the mulch.
It's much easier to just pull weeds up by hand. I've inherited one of my mother's favorite garden tools, a dandelion pulling tool, affectionately called "Edie's Stabber." This thing has to be 50+ years old and is indispensable. I stab the dirt underneath the weeds. This loosens the soil ---- easy to pull out, especially if the ground is dry. I also use this tool to turn over the soil, especially near the base of plants where weeds are growing. The shaft is so narrow that it doesn't really lift a plant, just moves the dirt around. I'm showing a pic of Edie's Stabber because you can see it has a really long shaft. At our house, Edie's Stabber is the preferred gardening too.
LOL looks like a serious tool! I agree, the best way to deal with weeds is to pull 'em out. Thanks!
Well, I ALWAYS think the weeds are worse "this year" than they were last year! Memory lapse, I guess, lol.
But my theory this year is that the weeds SEEM worse because they came on so suddenly. At least in my neck of the woods, winter took it's sweet time leaving, and then we had sudden high temps and lots of rain. We literally went from brown to tropical in a matter of days, and that included the weeds. Although I've had a week to get used to the new and sudden lushness, I still feel a bit as though I've been transported from (wintry) New England to the tropics, lol.
Add to that, the fact that the weeds always seem to do so much better than anything I plant....
That stabber looks good. I have a cheaply made one for those ickies with long tap roots. But my favorite tool ws originally called a Cape Cod weeder. I think the closest thing you can buy nowadays is a cobra head weeder. My tool is basically L-shaped which I can drag thru the soil to get those runner roots loosed up. I also like the inexpensive garden gloves you can buy at a farm and feed store. Stretchy fabric that's been dipped into a rough rubbery solution. The gloves not only protect hands but gives a stronger grab on tough weeds.
I have a big yard and take at leas 4 five gallon pails of weeds to the weed pile every time I'm in the garden this time of year. I did not do a good job of cleaning up one veggie bed and now it's almost completely grown in by the baddest things.
I go to exercise class just to keep in shape during the winter for gardening.
Defrost, believe me, that stabber had to have been cheap because my mother (Edie) bought it many, many years ago and her favorite place to shop was this old discount store called Stars! Edie's stabber has a plastic handle and a stainless steel shaft (I think) that never rusts even after I lost it outside one November and then found it the next spring. I think the most important factor in finding a great garden tool is --- does it "fit" your hand?
I agree with those gloves you like --- Mud gloves were the original brand but now so many others are available. My DH convinced me to get those leather gloves this spring but they're kind of clumsy to use.
Dee, I got a kick out of your comments about the sudden change in weather, plus you're absolutely correct that weeds thrive so well in my garden.
This post was edited by molie on Mon, May 27, 13 at 17:00
I have to say that I completely second the opinion of grabbing an 'Edie's Stabber'. We had one for the exact same reason (pulling the dandelions) but we soon found that it was indispensable when pulling out other stubborn weeds. Another tool I like is this claw shaped, three pointed tool with staggered points that you could run through a patch of clover in the lawn to essentially comb the roots out of the grass. Nifty tool.
From my experience with vine-weeds and landscape fabric, I will never use landscape fabric. Not only did they vine completely on top, leaving nothing to pull up but a mat of vines, but they also vined through/into and underneath the landscape fabric, making for a horrendous removal "project".
I'm not big on the stabber, but I wouldn't be without my three-pronged thingy. Just what IS the name of that tool anyway? Anyone know? I just call it "the claw", lol. Makes it hard (i.e. embarrassing) when I have to ask where to find one in the garden centers.
I use a cape cod weeder (the L shaped thing) and an "Edie's stabber" - I have a bunch of the claw tools, but have never found a use for them. It seems to me like they disturb the soil, bringing up a lot of weed seeds, unlike the stabber or other narrow tools.
The cape cod weeder is really good for clearing the weeds between bricks, and we've got a LOT of bricks. I use an old kitchen knife for that, too.
The weeds really ARE worse this year, and they have been worse every year, since I started gardening.
DH had nothing else to do one day this week so he re-set some of the bricks in the short walkway to our kitchen porch. Last year what worked for the weeds between the bricks was to pour boiling water on them. Once they were dead, they pulled out easily.
Just watch your toes if you wear flips flops like I do.
THANK YOU for this advice, defrost! This is an excellent idea, and I plan to put this into usage today. No residual effects with boiling water, as with chemical herbicides or household weed killers.
Really like that boiling water idea, defrost! We have a brick side walk in front that the original owner put in using sand between the bricks. Everything grows in those sand gullies--- I've even had baby Hellebores sprouting up in the sand grout.
Our bricks are also laid in sand, but I LOVE to have moss between the bricks, so I don't use the boiling water. Also, there are a surprising number of worms under and between the bricks - I find them when I'm pulling weeds. The weeds that sprout up - mainly grass and ground ivy - are amazingly easy to pull, even without the hot water treatment, since the base is sand.
A landscape contractor pal of ours recently recommended that we use a blower to remove about 1/3 inch of the sand in the joints and sweep in polymeric sand. This apparently prevents weed seeds from sprouting. We may give that a try in some of the paths, but since it also prevents rainwater from draining it wouldn't be useful in some areas.
DtD--- moss between dirt is lovely! Years ago I "grew" moss along a stone stairway I built between our house and our neighbor's. If I remember correctly, and this was over 30 years ago, I used a blender and pureed moss that I found in the yard with yogurt then poured this mixture over the stairs. It puddled and grew in little crevices and along the sides of the stones.
Defrost, I can't thank you enough for the boiling water tip! Three kettle-fuls completely killed the weeds between the patio blocks under my pot ghetto! It has never been so weed free! Since this garden is in full sun, there is no possibility of growing moss between the bricks, and being situated in the midst of several acres of former farmland, the earthworm kill is not a concern. I did originally underlie the patio bricks with roofing paper in a vain attempt to prevent weed growth, so it is possible that the boiling water might have melted some of the tar on the roofing paper, but since it has been worthless as a weed preventative anyways, who cares? Was this your own discovery, Defrost, or did you borrow the tip from another gardener? Whose ever idea it was, it is a great one!
After I finished with my orange flowerpot garden, I tackled and conquered the veggie patch. I possess several of those claw-like tools (or their second cousins) but I relied on a hoe and my hands to de-weed it. Then I planted the seeds and pinwheels, the latter thanks to Pixielou's suggestion.
One thing that works for me, Digger, is to photograph the tool that you want to buy and bring a printout of the photo with you (if not the tool itself) to the hardware store or garden center. Then the workers instantly know what you are asking for. For some inexplicable reason hardware parts and tools all have specialized and equally inexplicable names, and if you deviate from these names or attempt to describe the tool, you might as well be speaking in Swahili.
Two days ago I finally charged up the new batteries for my string trimmers and restored my perennial beds to some sort of order. To my surprise I have alliums blooming. They did beautifully the first year I planted them, then faded out and I gave up on them, but now they are back. It was a happy surprise.
So despite the fact that some young person apparently switched bodies with me and left me with the body of a frail, old decrepit person with non-working joints and no energy, I've made some headway into the jungle. I still have the pet memorial garden to trim and the annual garden (gnome garden) to dig up and de-weed, but progress is ongoing!
Age not withstanding, I agree that this year the weeds grew into a massive jungle in a very short time. I think the rain, and the fact I was preoccupied with planting trees and disrupted by a long weekend in Maine, combined to give the weeds the upper hand.
LOL spedigrees, I never thought of that - bringing a photo. I usually just make my three fingers into a claw and ask for "you know, that claw thing." I know, its silly, but the funny thing is... the minute they look at my hand they know what I mean, lol!
I am in need of a garden/weed hoe that is described as follows; the business end of this instrument has an inverted "v" (looking from above) which allows you to did under the weed and pull it out by the roots. When looking at the hoe from the side, it is slightly curved to allow the item to scoop under the weed and pull same out by the roots. Can anyone help me find another one. I am interested in purchasing a dozen of these very helpful tools. They are perfect in removing sticker burrs that plague south texas. Les in Luling
Stirrup hoe? Not sure if they're bent, when viewed from the side, though.
Maybe something like this dandelion digger from Lee Valley?