Time to Clean Up!

August 7, 2016 lawanda Newspaper Columns

Every yard has one.  Maybe it’s out of sight behind your garage or on the side of the house where you never go.  Perhaps it’s in the back corner behind the kids’ yard toys.  Maybe it’s inside the vegetable garden or at the back of the flower bed.  Possibly it’s right out front for all the world to see but you’ve overlooked it for so long that you’ve become blind to it.

      What am I talking about?  Overgrown, weedy, messy spots. It’s time to clean up folks!

      Pretend you are a visitor to your own yard.  Take a walk around, looking for places that need improvement.  Then walk down the street in both directions and make a critical assessment of your yard as you return home.  Pay attention to what you notice first when approaching your house.  Then see what catches your attention second.  Does anything detract from that first, hopefully good, impression?

      Is it time to get rid of some half-dead shrubs around the front porch?  Or are they covering your windows and in need of trimming?  Does a tree branch hang over your driveway, block your view of the street or drag on the ground?  Is a weed-eater or a hand clipper needed to trim long grass from unkempt edges? 

      Perhaps it’s time to get down on your hands and knees and pull some weeds.  After a good rain, weed pulling will go easier.  An inexpensive kneeling pad and a short-handled hand weeding tool will make the job easier.  The tool I favor looks like a big screwdriver with a forked tip.  Plunge the tool into the ground next to the weed and use it to assist in lifting the weed out while you firmly pull the top of the weed.  Make sure to remove the roots so weeds don’t grow back.

      If weeds in your garden are completely out of control, start by pulling those around the stems of the garden plants first to give them some breathing room.  Then tackle the rest.  Unless the weeds have gone to seed, lay them down on the soil between the plants.  They will act as a mulch, keeping the earth moist and cool and will eventually compost in place to provide nutrition for the soil.

      Speaking of compost, if you’ve got a compost pile or bin, there is probably some good, fresh compost ready to use at the bottom.  Now is a good time to remove it and spread it around flowers, shrubs, fruits and vegetable plants to give them a boost going into the hottest month.  The dark color of the compost will also add an attractive finished look to your beds.

      Let’s all resolve to take care of a messy spot or two.  Whether the task takes minutes or days, whether you accomplish it yourself or need to hire someone to do it for you, your spirts will lift and you’ll coast into fall feeling proud of your property.

Gardening techniques and toolsMiscellaneous


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