Pullin' weeds

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On average, how much time would you say you devote per week pulling weeds from the garden? I say per week, rather than per day because I used to pull weeds on the farm - but I don't live on a farm anymore and I'm certainly not going to devote 10 hours a day doing it.
My experiences pulling weeds in the fields made me completely apathetic about them. However recently I've got it in my head that I might be able to keep the garden clean without resorting to chemical warfare - but it just doesn't seem to help. Dandilions, Catsear, Rye, and two others that I'm actually gonna post an ID on here shortly are overrunning my garden even if I do pull weeds for an hour a day.
How do you keep the weeds down? Pulling them up, covering them over with mulch, weapons of mass destruction, or do you just not worry about it anymore?
Side question:
What is the best method for controlling rye grass growing up inside a clump of something like rosemary or lavender?
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Eigenvector wrote:

On average, 1 or 2 minutes per week. In the county I live in, I can get free mulch by the truck load that has already been through the heat cycle, therefore no live seeds. Every year I add a couple of inches after planting. Very few weeds make it through the mulch, a crab grass sprout here and there is about it.
Tom J
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rye? Dandelion has been much discussed here as it is a salad and medicinal plant, and it also has an incredible taproot that transports nutrient minerals to the surface to improve the soil.
Rye on the other hand creates an extremely large amount of biomass in the soil which improves water retention and generally keeps the critters happy.
Oh, are we talking lawn here?
Pour a slab and paint it green.
In my vegetable garden, I probably spend ten minute a week, if that much, pulling weeds.

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Billy
Bush and Pelosi Behind Bars
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wrote:

Who in the world pulls weeds from their lawn? <snip>
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Billy wrote:

Anyone know how to rid a garden of Tradescantia that has completely taken over? It leaves its roots in the ground from which new plants grow and multiply. I have tried rolling it up and disposing of it; used broad-leaf herbicides; tilling the soil, and am now thinking the only effective way to rid my garden of this pest is to completely redesign the entire garden, remove everything and start again, hopefully Tradescantia-free!
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On Sat, 5 Jul 2008 10:55:35 -0700, "Eigenvector"

I have far too many weeds which give fodder to something living back in the garden, so I'd say I weed about never! Well, in the spring I promise I'll keep the garden in front weeded, but the bermuda always wins. This is no help to you, but I just have a huge area where I allow weeds to go. When I bought the house I planted a lot of small trees and this year they are finally giving me shade in most of the backyard. I'll take more photos and post them to my website blog thing.
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wrote:

Your answer does help, if anything its far less confrontational than the others I've read. I have a couple boxes that are large and it was my intention to keep them clean of any weeds. But seeing how difficult that task is turning out to be, it got me wondering if I was simply being hopelessly unrealistic about what a garden should look like. From your response it sounds like I'm coming to that realization a bit too late.
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On Sat, 5 Jul 2008 17:58:55 -0700, "Eigenvector"

I am torn between having this more formal landscaped look out front, and leaving things so the local birds, mammals and reptiles have some native something. Ironically, since I started this whole way of gardening, I now have about 50 percent native plants, which others see as weeds. Horse herb, frogfruit, goldenrod, Salvia farinacea, Oenothera, winecups, Indian paintbrush, bluebonnets, yuccca's, oh just a really impressive list of what others call weeds. Many of these plants depend on others. For example, Indian paintbrush is a parasite and grows very well when put together with bluebonnets because they are a legume and fix nitrogen. So, they do well together with those stores of nitrogen. Many grasses have also come up, such as inland seaoats, side oats gramma, too many to list. Yes, it's a mess. But, but, but, I get far more enjoyment seeing all the wildlife in the yard both day and night. We have four of the most adorable baby oppossums I've ever seen! They roam around all night all over the place. Now and then they fall in the pool and find a float and we save them in the morning. I also have a fancy for mice and even rats. Some people think that's nuts. I don't. That garden strikes a balance. It's not organized. Thank you Sara Stein who wrote, "Noah's Garden."
Victoria
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"Eigenvector" wrote:

Are you talking golf course or pasture?
What defines a weed in a field?!?!? I've never spent even one second pulling weeds in my fields... there are probably a few hundred different plants... if they don't duck they get mowed.
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I was referring to wheat field actually, but for the purposes of this discussion I was wondering about my personal herb garden, say 100 sq ft.
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I almost never 'pull' weeds. I'll spend a few minutes with a hoe, or a claw, or a metal-tined rake. I'm a little philosophical about it, mainly since my knees aren't what they used to be (if they ever were!) and I refuse to spray herbicide or pesticide anywhere on my property. But in my three little vegetable beds, I try to eliminate any competition (and they don't really leave- they go straight to the composters).
Chris
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wrote:

I do use a claw in the spring, but for certain weeds all it seems to do is make them multiply. I guess if pulling weeds was simple they wouldn't be called weeds. Based on your response and Jangchub's it sounds like I'm worrying about them too much.
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On Sat, 5 Jul 2008 19:33:51 -0700, "Eigenvector"

No, that's okay. You may want your garden more tidy than others. If you want to try to get rid of unnecessary weeds, one trick is never let it get big enough to produce seeds. The night before you plan to do weeding, give the entire area a very deep soak. Water long enough to lay down one inch of water. That will percolate down about eight inches and make it much easier to pull weeds out. Just grab them from as low to the ground as you can and jiggle them to loosen the roots and then up. Try not to disturb the soil too much because weed seeds can lay dormant for decades and all you have to do is disturb the soil, turn it, till it, and you have seeds you never saw before in your life!
If you truly don't mind sharing the garden with some weeds, don't go crazy to get rid of them. If you just keep at it, cutting flowering heads of weeds off before they set seed, in time you will get rid of most of the weeds.
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wrote:

I guess it's all about expectations then. Here in the Pac Northwest grass seems to be the biggest weed around. Dandilions and Catsear aren't typically a problem so much as they are easy to pull out. But grass, pull it out and huge clods of dirt come with it - if your not careful it uproots the plant growing next to it. Actually, I have a crop of quackgrass growing in my herb garden - I deliberately left it to grow, partially to see how it would do and partially because I simply couldn't get rid of it. It actually makes the garden much greener and with the barriers I have around it, it won't spread beyond its borders. I never have to water it, it competes mightily with other weeds, and it provides a home for the frogs and snakes.
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On Sun, 6 Jul 2008 07:56:38 -0700, "Eigenvector"

Here in Texas grass burrs, Queen Anne's lace, bermuda grass and wild poinsettia are the most annoying prolific plants on this property. Those we try to pull out the minute we see them or we suffer the consequences. Bermuda is impossible to get rid of. It hates shade, so I try planting things like huge ornamental grasses right where the bermuda is worst and it eventually shades it out.
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It all depends entirely on what sort of "garden" you like. I spend an awful lot of time just sitting enjoying my view and I find that things out of order annoy me, so yes- I weed. I weed perhaps 10 hours a week in my "yard" proper, but do have a quite large wooded portion beyond that where I do very little. Some times of year I weed more, and some less, but al least once a day I pull some weeds. Of course I mulch, but plenty of seeds germinate in mulch so that isn't the final answer IMO.
If you weed with the right zen spirit it isn't nearly the nasty chore most folks think it is. I don't mind it- I move my little seat from spot to spot and get to know all my plants intimately. It's something I enjoy and the rewards are great. Not everyone likes a manicured garden, and I understand that. But I do :)
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Toni
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On 7/5/2008 10:55 AM, Eigenvector wrote:

First of all, I never walk through my garden without pulling at least 1 or two weeks.
On days when I set aside time to work in my garden, I usually pick an area that has not been weeded recently and clear it entirely of weeds. By "weeds", I mean any plant that is not something I planted (except of course for volunteers -- interesting weeds). I spend about 1-2 hours a week weeding.
I actually pull some weeds; these are generally seedling ash trees (the most common weed in my garden), wild grasses, goatsbeard, and pimpernel. I use a paring knife to cut the roots of some weeds; these may be spotted spurge and oxalis. I kneel on the padded underside of an upside-down bench. Using a hoe, long-handled cultivator, or chemicals is not really possible because many of my desirable plants are too close together. Several of my beds have ground covers (cinquefoil or persicaria). Today, they would be damaged by weeding methods that don't involve close-hand work; eventually, they should grow thick enough to limit weeds.
Contrary to some of the other replies, weeding is very important. The pimpernel was crowding out my candytuft and primroses in back and the persicaria in front. If I want those plants, I must eliminate their competitors. Also, with water rationing likely in the near future where I live, I need to reduce the loss of water from the soil caused by growing weeds.
My Hill (always written with upper-case "M" and "H", see <http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_back.html#hill ) is another issue. I water it heavily but only once every two weeks. I cannot pull weeds on My Hill except within the first 3-4 days after watering. Also, I can only weed a small portion at a time; My Hill is just too steep for me to do a thorough job all at once. While the weeds I remove from the flat areas of my garden go in a green bin for the county's composting program, the weeds I pull from My Hill I lay down as a mulch. Currently, there are many tall annual grasses, some wild mustard, and goatsbeard. Next year, I expect far fewer weeds on My Hill, a result of the combination of (1) infrequent watering, (2) the mulch of old weeds, and (3) the growth of ground cover (African daisies and English ivy) that was planted just this past winter.
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David E. Ross
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A freudian typo, weeding for two weeks each week!

I also save interesting weeds. The orange hawkweed has not gotten established here on the penninsula, but across Puget Sound in King County it's become a pest, and in Idaho it's illegal not to get rid of it in your yard. It's SO beautiful and I allowed a bit of it to spread because no other weed (or flower) can thrive in its presence and its blooms are gorgeous. I have to stay on top of it to keep it from spreading seed, and as this gets tiresome, I'm finally going to have yank it for the BOTTOM of a compost heap. Too bad it's so aggressive as it's otherwise so lovely.

I never thought of 'em as weeds but I do have to treat as weeds seedling hawthorns, seedling hollies, and seedling Franchette's cotoneaster.

Besides out-competing some weeds including dandylion and hawksweed secret a hormone that retards the growth of surrounding plants.
-paghat the ratgirl
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On Sat, 05 Jul 2008 19:46:11 -0700, "David E. Ross"

As he says.
I've never learned the names of most.
J.
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On Sat, 5 Jul 2008 10:55:35 -0700, "Eigenvector"

Keep weeds down by using mulch. There are still some weeds, but the mulch can greatly help with water conservation. The best way to rid the rye grass is pull it out, blade by blade, after a good soaking rain. I probably spend 30 minutes a week pulling weeds, a bit more time now than other times of the year.
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