This may seem odd to you, whatever your current level of gardening enthusiasm, but I love pulling weeds. Sometimes it takes me a little while to get myself into the proper mindset for the task since weeding seems to have a very negative reputation in our society. Once, many years ago, when I was working at a small local nursery during the summer, I had misbehaved in some way and was sent off to a remote location to pull weeds by myself. I loved it!
We have had one of our unusually nice, dryer springs this year which has given me more opportunities to spend time in the garden, and the motivation keep the weeds under control. As you may recall, last year I spread a healthy layer of yard-debris compost over my garden beds as a mulch. It may have had some effect on the number of weeds that I have been pulling this year, but since weed seed blows in from all around the area, more than enough weeds were able to germinate in that nice mulch and keep me busy.
One of the reasons I love weeding has to do with that layer of compost mulch. I like to either use a garden fork or trowel when removing weeds so that I can remove the roots along with the green leafy material. In doing so, I am aerating the soil and allowing the compost to drop down into the cracks and crevices. If I find the soil to be particularly cloddy, I’ll use the tool at hand to break up the clods and mix the compost in a bit and then smooth the area over, leaving little visual sign of my activity.
Many people find this process to be slow and monotonous, but I have found that I actually enjoy this excuse to slow down from the fast pace of my busy life. I may do some of my best thinking while down on my hands and knees, digging in the soil. Viewing the garden from this lower perspective seems to stimulate my imagination and I allow my mind to drift off into all kinds of adventures while my hands are digging and pulling and mixing and smoothing. I was actually a little disappointed the other day when my wife and I realized we had finished all the weeding. Fortunately, there are plenty of weed seeds to go around, and I expect more will find their way to my garden before too long.
Being on the ground also puts me in a good perspective to view and evaluate the overall health of my garden. While I am down close to my plants, I take time to inspect for any insect or disease problems. Pulling weeds is part of creating and maintaining a healthy garden. A good healthy garden requires good healthy soil — and soil that drains well, retains moisture and has a lot of organic matter is great for growing conifers and other exciting plants.