Spring season is always a matter of logistics when you live in a cold climate. In temperate Ohio we go from cold-can’t-do-anything conditions to hot-don’t-want-to-do-anything weather with only a fleeting spring in between. We can count on two months to get soil prepared and everything planted. Some years there may be some earlier breaks and if we don’t mind working very early in the mornings and watering a lot we can plant later; but two months is what a gardener can count on.
Logistics comprise anything from balancing between open weather conditions to time schedules, to physical energy resources. I always seem to complicate that mix of factors (which is more than enough to make a very busy workload) with tromping off on trips hither and yon. (Mostly Atlanta, to visit my kids and grandchildren).
Needless to say, it is a crush of demands to get the garden going for the year.
2 of my Weeding Rules
Weeding is mandatory in the early part of the growing season. Once roots have grasped hold, it is a much harder row to hoe, as the old adage would word it.
I like to approach weeding with a bit by bit, day by day method if I am given opportunity (vacations and trips out of town wield chaos into that plan). But when regular weeding is done, the accumulated labor yields control over the garden. Conversely I can attest to the sad fact that once weeds gain the upper hand, they will make you very sorry you didn’t get them easily while you could.
Weed early and consistently. Or renovate to your remorse.
- poison ivy
- Canadian thistle
- honeysuckle shrubs
- wild Hemlock
- ground ivy
Those are just the worst- I don't even much care about dandelions.
The right tool for the right job is one part of this rule, and the other part is to minimize areas that need weeding. So I guess that means ,besides learning which tools best handle your weed, is to customize the yard to your efforts (more of that in the next section of this post). Another way to say that is that by controlling our conditions, we increase our ability to manage our problems.
In the garden there are so many ways this works. When we choose between plants that require pruning and those which do not, for example, we control the amount of work as well as the long term effect on the design of the garden.
When creating flower beds that are easy to mow around by shape and by edging, the amount of work is reduced.
Using materials that last for pathways and arbors, giving more space to permanent plantings, less to those which need replacement or constant care…. these are all ways we control the conditions and enable our maintenance chores to become far more manageable.
Tools for the task?
- If you have long rooted dandelions or Canadian thistle you should use a long tool with a forked end. Large areas can also be forked up to loosen the roothold and plants then pulled.
- Burdock and others with a root crown can be dug by a shovel at the crown- no need to get the whole root.
- Grass weeds can be loosened and removed with a claw type of tool.
- Most weeds can be dug out with a Cape Cod Weeder, which is most useful in tight places where other tools can’t go.
Of course, you might try to “make-do” with one or two tools. I did, for years. The drawback is how much more labor you will expend and how hard on your body that can be.
Here’s my review of my favorite “Cape Cod Weeder“.
How Do Logistics Need To Change?
Gardening for those who stay close to home is different from that for people who travel. Busy day schedules at work? That may mean weekend-only gardening. Life changes, the garden changes, and we must change.
It is hard to reduce gardening efforts, just like any downsizing, but the goal is to make it not just fit into life, and thus remain/return to being one of the joys of life.
I Was A One Man Band
Once I accomplished the entire amount of work in my garden. As the garden and my family grew, members of the family were pressed into service. Now, I’m no longer capable of handling that type of gardening effort and my “work force” dwindled to almost nil. What to do?
Consider These Solutions
- Begin removing plants and gardens. Especially those which require more care than you can give them.
- Hire help. Easier said than done for many of us.
- Change the style of garden.
- Acquire more power tools: hedge trimmers, zero-turn mowers, etc.
- Neaten things up with more hardscaping. This might require both hiring others and a bigger budget.
Or you can always move. I hate that last idea, but it may be necessary at some point.
I have more raised beds now, but they are sometimes troublesome. Weeding removes soils, which have to be topped up. Pathways have been a problem to maintain.
For me, the jury is out on whether they are worth the time and work -but my husband loves building them, if not working in them.
Summing It Up
After all these years I believe that gardening is a matter of loving both the work and beauty of it and adjusting it to one’s own lifestyle. People tend to give up on those things that don’t fit well with the way they live life.
It is a pity to give up on the health benefits of gardening just because one has become too busy for it. Slowing down one’s pace ( another way to say reducing stress), harvesting and eating freshly grown fruits and vegetables, spending time in close contact with the earth, are all part of the gain to be had.
My own garden logistics plan is to realize that my reach had stretched too far to be maintained. What are your plans for the landscape surrounding your home?