It is that time of year to be overwhelmed by gardening. Green life is bursting forth everywhere! You can almost sense the growth and activity in the air. We see the tenacity of nature and green growing plants. It is truly an exciting and alive time to be outside. But and there is a big but…. Weeds are growing everywhere. They almost grow perceptively overnight. So it is very easy to be overwhelmed by gardening this time of year!!
Hints to Tackle Being Overwhelmed by Gardening
I have a few hints to share with you about being overwhelmed by gardening.
- Take things a step at a time.
- Don’t look at the whole garden at once.
- Plan small projects like weeding a 2 x 2 ft area.
- Use a timer–give yourself 15-20 minutes to work on one small part and then take a break. (Check out my post on how my father taught me to take a break , be mindful and appreciative in the garden.)
- Use mulch, compost or leaves on top of newspaper to keep the weeds down.
- Use a weed barrier cloth.
Using Mulch or a Weed Barrier Cloth
I have had good results with these methods, particularly using newspaper with mulch on top. The newspaper eventually deteriorates into the soil. It is time consuming to put it all down. I have used weed barrier cloth with good results but there are discussions on the internet that it is not so good. Sometimes in the springtime I feel so discouraged I want to cover my whole garden with a weed barrier and take a year off. But I don’t do that. I stick it out, working and working and things get better.
Check Out How My Weed Barrier Cloth Worked
Last year I used a weed barrier cloth where I planted tomatoes and peppers. The cloth kept the weeds at bay quite nicely. This year the weeds grew in the open areas of the weed cloth where the tomatoes and peppers were planted the year before. This photo is quite dramatic showing the weeds in the areas where the weed cloth barrier was cut out. These weeds are actually chickweed which is edible and makes a nice addition to a wild green salad. Notice no weeds where the weed barrier is intact.
Don’t lose hope when you are overwhelmed by gardening. Keep at it and it will get better as the season goes on. And use whatever barriers you can to keep the weeds down.
I was introduced to burdock hated and beloved on a wild food walk 3 years ago. We stopped
at some dried up, first year burdock plants on the edge of some woods. We could identify them from the burdock seed pods which inspired the invention of velcro! Our herbalist teacher started digging up a burdock root from a plant that didn’t look like it was so tall. There are two types: Arctium Lappa (greater burdock) and Arctium Minus (lesser burdock).
After much effort and digging our teacher retrieved the root. It was a small plant so it wasn’t too hard to dig up. I have tried digging burdock and believe me it clings to the earth and grows very long. I was not able to dig up a full root. I had to break it off after digging down almost 12 inches. We all tasted a little part of the root. I was not so impressed. What I am impressed with are the healing properties of burdock!!
Why I Call Burdock Hated and Beloved
I call burdock hated and beloved because it is so tenacious that once it gets established in your garden you will always be battling it. It is a very strong, robust plant. I call it beloved because it is so incredibly healing; how can we actually do without it?
Studying About Communicating With Plants
I have been reading a book about communicating with plants. The author suggests that you notice the feelings that you have around plants. So I had an encounter with burdock in my garden the other day. I wrote down my feelings and reactions in a poem:
Burdock Hated and Beloved
What is that dark green unfurling from the earth?
Deep, crinkled, intensely green and alive
Against the backdrop of winter’s stark desolate garden
Burdock hated and beloved…
Coming back for another chance!
It stops me in my tracks…
Astounded with its appearance
In cold mid March
So robust and green
And coming back from
My efforts at destruction!
Joy and pleasure in its appearance
Dread on what to do with it
Let it grow and flourish and multiply??
Questioning how can I kill it again
Last year I heard its cry
As I cut it down, down down
A sense of wonder at its tenacity
Admiration for its strength
Respect for its medical qualities
Awe for its slow-working ability to heal
Looking forward to its joyful purple flowers
So many flowers come forth
And then… so many seeds
Burdock spreading spreading
Throughout my garden
Fear that it will overtake my garden
And I will forever be cutting down burdock
So what to do???