Dealing with Weeds

My commitment to a natural yard makes dealing with invasive insects and weeds a challenge. I just can’t see spraying chemicals on the ground that my pup and chickens walk through – their little faces are directly in those chemicals and I can’t imagine the harm that might come to them. This leaves me with two options: try a few of the suggestions on the internet for spray (most of which are useless or require multiple applications)…or just dig out the weeds.

weeds_01It may sound like an impossible job, digging out the dandelions, crabgrass, and assorted unwanted plants from your yard. Don’t get me wrong – when you first choose this option it will be daunting. The good news is that you don’t have to do it all in one day. I take my handy weed removal tool with me each time I work a bed and remove unwanted plants in the vicinity. Many are shallow rooted and can be removed by hand, but the taprooted weeds like dandelions are pretty hardy. If you don’t get the entire root you’ve done the work incorrectly.

The pile of weeds typically goes into the compost bin, but the addition of chickens to my urban farm has led to a slight change. They love snacking on the fresh greens, so I’ll throw a batch into their run when I’m done for the day. I’m considering drying some of the dandelion greens so the hens can enjoy them this winter.

It’s rather therapeutic, pulling weeds from the garden beds. There is something tremendously satisfying about falling backward with a stubborn root in hand after the exertion of great force. Seeing clean paths through my garden is such a joy. Weed pulling is economical, too – I’ve seen cheap versions of this tool for just $1 but sturdy versions will cost a bit more. Chemicals range in cost, environmental impact, and their impact on your health and that of the animals that visit your yard.

Sure, if I worked a larger space I might reconsider how I work with weeds. For now, though, I’ll keep pulling by hand.

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