One thing the internet has done for gardeners is made us all more aware of the conditions others garden in. To see the photos of narcissus and cosmos growing in warmer climates when for me it is the dead of winter continues to astound me. A couple of weeks ago, this post on an eclectic garden kind of took me aback. At the time, my area had just come out of a very dry May and was in the midst of an unseemly June heat wave. I found the fact that the eclectic gardener can normally expect only 1.21″ of rain in May just as astounding as narcissus in December. The average rainfall in May in my area is 3.55″, and we are glad to get every bit of it. This May, however, a mere 0.75″ fell to the ground. The lack of precipitation, coupled with cooler than average temperatures (we had a few nights in the low 20s F.) slowed our spring quite a bit. I think both my mock-orange and some of lilacs had poor bloom because of those hard freezes.
Then came the heat and humidity–quite a bit earlier than the usual July. This is the kind of weather that makes me feel persecuted. I mean, the main method I have for coping with the cold of winter is to tell myself that at least I won’t have to deal with the heat and humidity that comes with living in a warmer climate! And it didn’t even cool off much at night, which, when you don’t have air conditioning, is the primary way of coping with heat: pull in the cool night air and try to keep it in the house as long as possible. At least we did get more rain–2.05″ so far. Of course, combined with the heat, it was kind of like a sauna bath. But I can suffer for the sake of my plants better than suffering for no good reason. Now we have perfect conditions for weeding: moist soil and cool temps. All that heat made for plenty of weeds, too.
I rather enjoy weeding when perfect conditions prevail. Unfortunately, I only know one way to weed: pull the plants out one by one. This works great when you’re faced with a thickly planted perennial bed. It doesn’t work so great when you’re faced with a freshly dug and newly planted bed that you didn’t get around to mulching because it was so hot. Fifty hundred million weed seedlings take a long time to pull out one by one, especially if you’re trying to not pull out the self-sown poppy seedlings that are sandwiched between them. This is one of many reasons why I get behind on my weeding. I’m just not that handy with a hoe, even when the situation calls for it. I always feel like I don’t have enough control (coordination? arm-and-shoulder strength?) to avoid doing damage to the very plants I’m trying to help. It probably factors into why I’m not a vegetable gardener, too.
I suspect different personality types have different weeding styles. I know my husband weeds far more efficiently than I do. He tends to focus on the forest, and I zero in on the individual weeds–er, trees. What’s your weeding style?