Nobodys Favorite Garden Chore: Weeding

With a foot of snow still melting outside, there aren't many gardening chore choices right now, other than starting seeds indoors. Even planting cool season seeds is risky with reports that the polar vortex may return.

If, like me, the warm, pretty days make you anxious to get the spring garden started, there is an option. Weeding the garden is a chore that can't be undone by any future polar vortex conditions.

If the unseasonably warm temps beckon you to do something in the garden…anything, really, take a look at those pesky winter weeds that will soon be producing seeds and tormenting you in the garden for years to come.

Target Annual Winter Weeds

Henbit, purple dead nettle, speedwell, common chickweed and mouseear chickweed are mat forming, annual weeds that may have not yet produced seeds, or are in the process of forming them. If you can get them out of the ground before seeds produce and drop, you're saving yourself lots of work. Not only for this year, but for years to come.

Ways to Kill Weeds

Use pre-emergent herbicide if you're familiar with where the weeds normally grow. If they've already emerged you may be able to pull them by hand or remove them mechanically with a hoe.

Other than the lawn, you may saturate the area with vinegar to help kill the roots. A regular post-emergent herbicide can easily kill young weeds before they flower. For those who prefer a more organic approach, hand weeding and hoeing may be your best bet.

For larger areas, such as a plot which will become a new garden bed, braver gardeners use a torch for weed removal. You can also get rid of some of the annual weeds by tilling the soil and turning them under. In gardens where you won't be planting seeds, an application of the organic product Preen prevents weeds for several months.

Keeping Weeds Under Control

Apply this corn-gluten based product when the Forsythia shrubs in your area are in full bloom. This handy guideline works for all areas of the country.

Once you have the weeds under control, you can concentrate on the more fun aspects of starting the garden. Start seeds indoors for a jump start on spring flowers and cool season vegetables. Follow suit with summer veggies and blossoms, as desired. Keeping the garden weed-free (or close) is easier when you get started early.