Sunday, February 17, 2013

UNCLE!

Yes, I'm aware that writing in all capital letters is supposedly the equivalent of yelling in the written word.  I meant to yell UNCLE!  Remember when you were a child, someone would twist your arm or hold you down until you yelled "UNCLE!"  It was the equivalent of yelling "I SURRENDER!"

Well, I think my arm has been twisted enough times that I'm on the verge of yelling "UNCLE!"  Twisted pulling weeds, that is!

I looked back at my blog posts using the search tool, and every February, March, August and September, I have posted on weeding.  Weeds seem to multiply faster than I can pull them.  I once read on some forum (can't remember where) that one gardener kept his beds weed free because he weeded every Friday.  Without fail, he weeded on Fridays.  Of course, if it was raining or freezing, he didn't.  But otherwise, he weeded on Friday.

I wondered if I could do that and have a weed free garden, too.  So, I gave it a try.

Last Friday, I realized the flaw in this plan.  My garden is too big, and my weeds too numerous for me to weed them all out in one day.  At least in February, March, August, and September, I need to weed almost every day!

And so, I'm beginning to wonder if I should yell "UNCLE!" to a select number of weeds.  Could there really be that much harm?


Henbit is one of the prettiest weeds in my garden.  I love its sweet little flowers - probably because they're purple.  Their lace collars give them a dainty air.

And I love how they will grow in every crack and crevice.


But I know better than to let this weed spread.  It would take over the entire garden if left to its own devices, so I try to pull it whenever it invades the flower beds.  (The lawn we never weed - a weed-free lawn is not important to us.)  So, as much as I like it (and it's edible, too!), I know I must weed it out of my flower beds.  I must not surrender.


The false garlic, however, I absolutely hate to see in my garden beds.  It pops up everywhere!  It's not an easy weed to get rid of, either.  Its bulbs are deep, requiring digging instead of pulling.  I am tired of my arm being twisted from digging each and every little wild garlic bulb.  Plus, they seemingly multiply when my back's turned.  I'm considering yelling "UNCLE!" and letting it have its way.


Oxalis is another invasive that I have tried to eradicate from my garden for years.  This one I'm still fighting, but as I find more and more, instead of less and less, of this weed in my garden, I'm wondering just how bad it would be if I were to let it run free.

When I first started gardening, I let one weed take over an area in the back.  I thought it was pretty, and wondered what harm could come from my letting it take over.  Well, I soon learned why this weed was considered a weed.  While it had a pretty enough flower, it also had thorns!  Ouch!  After realizing the error of my ways, I went into full-force battle mode and have almost eradicated it from my garden.  So, I know that there is a reason that common weeds are commonly considered weeds.

So, what do you think?  Should I let the false garlic stay?  How about the oxalis?  Have you ever yelled "UNCLE!" to any weed?  Did you regret it later?



62 comments:

  1. Hello I do not like weeds in my flower area but as you say they are growing faster than the flowers. I do not want to yell uncle but I still want to get pleasure in gardening.

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    1. They do grow fast, don't they!? It's amazing how slow the flowers can be to show in spring, but the weeds are not shy at all!

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  2. Keep being persistent in weeding but also be easy on yourself when you have to yell UNCLE sometimes. The garlic looks pretty but if you hate it get rid of it :)

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    1. I just wonder how bad it would be if I were to quit trying. I suppose I would eventually have a false garlic field!

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  3. I try to keep a schedule up also to help keep things in check.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. I really do think I'm going to have to schedule weeding into my weekly chores. Right now, it's daily, but hopefully they will eventually be controlled with weekly weeding. Keeping my fingers crossed, anyway!

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  4. I hear ya!!!!! Lucky for us though--we have about 3-4 months where things are dormant here ---so no weeding is necessary. But---it does get OLD---and there are times in spring especially when I want to cry, UNCLE.....

    Hang in there. You'll get it all done!!!
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. It does get old. I enjoy it - for a while - but I would much rather be doing other things in the garden instead of JUST weeding!

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  5. Oh girl...you must continue to fight the battle!! I absolutely HATE henbit. I also have a big problem with wild onions and I have a lot of oxalis. But, we MUST continue to fight...we can't let them win. Weeding is, by far, my most time consuming garden chore. When spring comes I will spend 4-6 hours a day, most days of the week in the garden. I probably weed almost every day. It's like painting a bridge...once they get to the end of the bridge, they have to start all over again. That's how weeding is in my garden....I go from bed to bed and just when I think I've done them all, there are weeds in the first bed again. Hang in there!!

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    1. haha - You are so right about the bridge! It seems once I get through with one bed, another bed becomes filled with weeds! I guess it's good that I generally don't mine weeding. I just wish there wasn't so much!

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  6. This past summer I wondered about just leaving the purslane in my flower bed. It covers the ground, doesn't look bad and is edible but it grows so quickly and thickly matting everything out. I ripped it all out in the end. Like you I could never weed on just one day per week. My garden is simply far too big, I'm trying to get into the habit of pulling, even for just 20 minutes, every time I go into a bed. A little bit each time makes the job a little less tedious.

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  8. Every time I have let a weed grow unchecked, I have regretted it - purslane, vetch, chickweed, capeweed, wild amaranth, they all look innocent at first, but they are not! If we want to grow other plants, we have to keep weeding. I'm not very diligent, but once a week wouldn't even scratch the surface of my weeding task in early spring, when there is so much bare ground for them to colonise. It gets better later in the season. If I could afford it, I'd pay someone to do my spring weeding!

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    1. I think you are right. They look innocent, but they are deceptive. I once paid for someone to do my weeding - he weeded all kinds of things that weren't weeds! :O Never again!

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  9. I get satisfaction in ripping those little nuisances right out the garden and find myself weeding on automatic pilot. It is good gardening therapy and I often find that a walk outside leads to a weeding session. Hang in there and don't give up! (second attempt-must check spelling!)

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    1. Yes, any walk outside leads to a weed being pulled - even if I'm in high heels! They taunt us!

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  10. Really thick applications of ground leaves keep most weeds out of my beds. However, it doesn't help weeds that have bulb like structures like your garlic and oxalis. That's why I think it is important to dig it all out. Couldn't you hire a young person to do it and train them?

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    1. "Train them". That's the hard part, I think. See my answer to Lyn. Now I'd rather do it myself!

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  11. Mulch is my friend. I try to add more in areas where I find myself weeding a lot. Otherwise, I try to weed once a week (no particular day.) I still pull some when I'm just out doing other stuff. I target dandelions particularly.

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    1. I really am going to try to set aside a day for weeding once a week. I bet eventually it would really help!

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  12. I too look at the weeds with both disdain and even some pleasure. I think many of them are pretty and I do like what they do for wildlife. But growing rampant in the garden, well that raises my hackles. And in the last few dry years they have been relentless in their garden attack.

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    1. I have a few areas that are bad every year. I guess I just haven't gotten all those little seeds out yet, and they continue to grow. Nothing to do but keep trying!

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  13. I like dense plantings so I can't see the weeds!

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    1. I like that philosophy! I do notice that weeds seem to get in the tiniest spot where things aren't growing. And I think I could weed a lot better if my roses didn't stab me every time I tried to weed under them!

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  14. Gorgeous-I feel your pain with the weeds. My gardens are large and sprawling--and seem to mysteriously grow every year. Just when you think you're getting ahead of them, you miss a beat and they take right over.

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    1. That's right! If I don't stay on top of them, I have lost and have to start all over again. Unfortunately, I've learned that the hard way!

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  15. Weeds always eventually make me yell UNCLE. Usually it is in August when it is so darned hot I give up. Then when it cools down I get all bent out of shape trying to bring the garden back to the as weed free as it ever gets. A vicious cycle.

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    1. Like you, I give up when it is so hot here. It really is a vicious cycle. Then spring starts again, and the weeds want to take over the entire garden even before the spring bulbs have all emerged!

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  16. I am no longer able to keep up with the relentless weeding necessary in my garden, especially during the spring and early summer, so I have created a garden that caters to my needs, instead of having to hire weekly help I can't afford. I use bark chipping in all the beds and all the tubs and most of the larger pots. The mulch level is quite thick, about 4 inches, although some plants require a lower level right around the base of the plant so it has to be applied accordingly. Some weeds grow happily in bark chippings, like clover, but most do not, and those that do are easy to spot and pick out before they get too big.

    It is a lot of work covering a whole garden with bark, especially a much bigger garden than mine, but it is not necessary to do the whole garden in one go, take the most troublesome part one year and then another area next year. The bark is good for so many reasons, as water retention, keeping cats away from the soil, and it looks good too! It has to be reapplied every other year or so, as it breaks down. This is my best tip for making yourself an easier life - please note, I didn't say EASY life, just easier :-)
    Take care, Helene

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    1. Obviously, I am not mulching thick enough. I think where I have mulched the most, the weeds are happiest. The mulch just makes beautiful soil - soil they thrive in! But, I know what you mean. It does help, at least for a while. Just not long enough! Or, as I say - I'm not putting it on thick enough!

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  17. I foolishly introduced Impatiens glandulifera to my garden and now fight an annual battle with it. I let a few stay each year (stupid) but I keep swearing to get rid of it. It's so pretty, though...

    Have you considered getting one of those flame thrower things that burn the weeds? It's organic and I bet it makes you feel pretty powerful(like a dragon) to singe the litte weeds to death!

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    1. That is the best suggestion!!! I am going to get one of those - that is, if my husband will trust me with fire! ;)

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  18. All day weeding on Fridays sound like a chore. A bit of weeding here and there every day you're in the garden is easier on the gardener and the psyche. (You and I know that 'a bit' in a big garden is considerable time.) I cast a benign look at most weeds. Florida Betony, chamber bitter and bittercress are among the exceptions. If it has a blue flower it can stay: harebells, venus' looking glass, bluets, blue toadflax.

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    1. I like your philosophy about letting the weeds with the blue flowers on them stay. I may give that a try!

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  19. That's so interesting. I saw Oxalis growing all over the place in New Orleans--like a weed. But I think of it as a pretty little flower, so I just appreciated it everywhere I saw it. Regarding the weeding, I do it just about every day during the late spring and summer. But I don't mind because digging my fingernails into the dirt is such good therapy! ;-)

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    1. It is good therapy. I need to get a better attitude about it!

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  20. I gave up pulling out oxalis a long time ago. It's pretty and fairly well mannered but I always pull up henbit. I also have lots of spring onions that pop up but I ignore those, too, because they go dormant quickly once summer starts. Choose your battles!

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    1. I just may adopt your plan. I don't think I'll ever get rid of the false garlic, anyway. And the oxalis is pretty enough!

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  21. Some weeds are to be accepted, and others are to be tolerated. And some are to be upgraded to backdrops or groundcovers... It's all about where and when, isn't it? No buttercups in my dahlia bed, but please let them roam free in The Ambitious Border - where I won't have a chance of controlling them anyway as they grow in both my lawn and the neighbour's, so they are bound to crawl through the hedge and into my border anyway, even if I fastidiously prevent my mown lawn-buttercups from crawling into the border.

    Incidentally, Oxalis seems to be a "fashionable" plant in Denmark these years, though it's especially the red-leaved variety you see in gardening magazine and florists. I actually think it has very pretty foliage, as long as it doesn't drown other plants entirely.

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    1. I have some oxalis that i purchased - it's quite pretty. This, however, is the wild kind that has somehow found its way into my garden. :( I don't think it's going to go away easily! I do like your thoughts about some being accepted, tolerated, or even used as groundcovers. Maybe I'll look at them a little differently, depending on *where* they area, instead of what they are!

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  22. Your henbit reminds me of our creeping charlie, which is also pretty but voracious. If it were me, I would struggle against all of the scourges you list, just recognizing these are battles that will never be won.

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    1. I guess it's the "never will be won" part that makes me so frustrated! I generally like pulling weeds, but I never seem to see a difference - that's the part I don't like so much!

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  23. I regret it every year as the weeds I cannot get to because of time I soon see in the hundreds....some I have called uncle on because I cannot battle them like horsetail...it is millions of years old so who do I think I am...you can only do your best...don't hurt yourself...look up your weeds to see which will be worst....I would say to not let the false garlic go as it is too hard to get out, but that is me.

    I hope to have an early warm spring so I can get to some weeds now.

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    1. Well, I guess I should be thankful to have weeds - at least it's warm enough to have them! I like your thought about the weed being millions of years old - we really don't have a chance, do we? We only fool ourselves into thinking we're in control!

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  24. Groundcovers! I don't have any bare soil showing, I put some kind of woody or herbaceous plant below all my shrubs or perennials, that spreads and keeps everything out. That said, it sorta works, and I still have weeds to pull. The oxalis is awful here. It comes up through the low groundcovers. It's an "uncle" for me.

    We have the advantage up north that our weeds are covered by snow part of the year, but come summer, it's a battle.

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    1. You are exactly right! I do need more groundcovers. I will make that a priority! Thanks for the suggestion.

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  25. I'm convinced the key is not letting these things go to seed. Except the Oxalis, which also grows little tubers and spreads by stolons. If you dig out the Oxalis every time you see it, you can get ahead of it. But beware, it tends to come in again on purchased plants. It shoots it seeds all over, so a pot you buy may have seeds in it. That is how I got it, not once but several times.

    If you make sure to deadhead the Garlic you can catch up on digging the bulbs out.

    My nemesis is what I call the 'stretchy weed'. It is Stellaria meadia, Chickweed. Any bit left in the ground (or on the ground, or near the ground), will re-grow. It gets into the crowns of other plants and I can never seem to get it all out.


    Good luck!

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    1. I hate it when I see weeds in plants I've purchased! I hadn't even thought about the weed seeds being in the soil of the pot, too, until you mentioned it! I'm going to be a lot more careful about my choice of plant purchases from now on!

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  26. Je suis aussi une adepte du lamier, j'aime beaucoup ses petites fleurs et son feuillage est parfait pour étouffer les mauvaises herbes. Je suis d'accord avec toi, les mauvaises herbes sont désarmantes dans un jardin et je crie aussi "assez".
    belle soirée jocelyne

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  27. I enjoy the henbit with its pretty purple flowers since it mostly grows in the buffalo grass lawn. I use a lot of mulch and accept weeds here and there. They are usually gone by summer, too hot even for weeds around here.

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    1. You're right about it becoming too hot for a lot of weeds! But by then, they've gone to seed, and come back even more the next year! I'm realizing that I will have to purchase a lot more mulch this year!

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  28. We have tons of henbit here. It is pretty....sort of. But, can't let it get a foothold.

    I mulch, and it still shows up. Having a field behind the house, doesn't help.

    You'd think I'd like it. The deer don't seem to. That's usually a prime feature of my favorite plants.

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    1. Henbit really is pretty - if it didn't want to take over everywhere! I think that's part of my problem - I'm gardening in what was just a field before.

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  29. My entire back yard is pennywort. It's pointless to try and stop it. The onion grass, or whatever it's called, is another one that you can't fight.

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    1. I guess maybe there are some weeds that we will just have to surrender to! Or go crazy trying to fight it!

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  30. I bet this is a problem we all have in common :) I find whenever I get fed up and let a weed take over, it displaces or weakens the surrounding perennials and so back out I go to yank it all out :(

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    1. I think you're right - the weeds are so much stronger than cultivated perennials, they would smother our entire gardens if we let them!

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  31. The Oxalis would be ours? In my own garden I find it flourishes where there is no competition. If I plant my choice ... the Oxalis concedes defeat. Shade it out and overplant it.

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    1. You're right - I need to put down some groundcovers and cover that bare ground! That is where it seems to pop up!

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  32. thinking that they even sell those garlic bulbs!!! I have given up... there is nooo chance to get rid of them - if you dig out the bulbs ( a grape bomb is easier to get rid of, I suppose) they still get along with seeds...
    In my case, just pulling the leaves out, slows them a little bit. It is a very mild way of controlling them.
    all the best

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    1. I think you may be right - I think there is no chance I will ever get rid of them all! I guess maybe I should just enjoy their little blooms, and pretend they are there on purpose! :)

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