The “art” of weeding

With the temperatures consistently over 90 degrees, my gardening tasks have been limited to weeding and a little deadheading/pruning here and there. 
Yes, you heard that right, I haven’t moved a plant in these harsh conditions, which proves that I am maturing as a gardener. We can only pray that this is a sign of positive things to come.          
Anyway, on to the topic at hand. 
I am ashamed and embarrassed to admit that the garden bed on the side of my house (where no human typically sets foot) looks like this:    

Nasty, eh? It was a strategic move to let it go so I could focus on the other areas of my landscape. You know, areas where people may actually linger and check out my plantings.

But the time has come to clean this disgrace up. And I have been more than pumped for the challenge.

I dove right in to the collage of weeds like a man on a mission. As I tore the weeds out and cursed them, I started to analyze my weed pulling process. I’m sure everyone has their own method and I’m sure those methods are more practical and successful than mine, but so be it. I like how I do it and why not share with you. It will be a very educational comedic read for you.

Topic #1 – Gloves:    

I don’t use them. Never have and never will. And here’s why:

There is a fine balance of brute force and gentleness required when pulling a weed and you cannot attain that balance with a glove on. However, when you use nothing but your bare hands, you can “feel” the weed. This allows the weeder to sense the depth and strength of its roots so the right amount of force can be used until that right moment where you dial it back just enough to ensure you have secured the entire root system:        

Topic 2 – Weed pulling body form:
The correct posture is a must. Shoulders must be back and I suggest imagining you are pulling your shoulder blades together while pulling. 
Also, assume a squatting position which gives you the best possible balance and allows you to be in it for the long haul.
Similar to weight lifting, these moves help prevent injury and all gardeners know we have no time for injury:    
** One side note before we move on. The hat I’m wearing is my “weeding hat”. It helps prevent sunburn on my neck and on the top of my head (the inevitable “thinning” has commenced). I have no affiliation with the University of Florida (or Tim Tebow for that matter). It is simply the only hat my son has that fits my huge cranium. Next.     

Topic 3 – Remember to stretch:
I like to incorporate various stretches while I am actually weeding to make sure the muscles stay loose and there is no cramping. The stretch below is a personal fave (farmer’s tan optional):   

Topic 4 – Effort you are willing to put in:

Weeding is not to be taken lightly. You must get each and every last weed, no matter how small and insignificant they may seem. It’s just the way it goes. That little weed will be a big weed in no time. I am convinced the little weeds know what they are doing by acting all innocent and unimposing.

Go big or go home:      

Topic 5 – How to pass the time:

With such a long time commitment, you need to mentally prepare yourself for the grind. Save all of your deep thoughts and “meaning of life” type analysis while weeding:

The time will pass before you know it and that garden will look fantastic:     

Before I go, I’ll let you in on one last bonus when weeding with reckless abandon.

Your significant other will love the dirty fingernails and calloused fingers.  

It screams tough and sexy and reminds them that you are one with the earth.

Trust me, it works on my wife all the time.


14 thoughts on “The “art” of weeding

  1. caite

    obviously, you have made quite a study of the subject. I agree on the way..but the squatting, for the ‘long term’? no..don’t think

  2. DFW

    That’s what I did all day myself, albiet w/gloves, they fit a bit tighter than yours so I could “feel” the weeds. Squatting and stretching also involved.

  3. Janet, The Queen of Seaford

    You obviously do not have thorny weeds, nor do you have fire ant (on your belly, pulling weeds under the shrubs). I wear Atlas gloves as I think they give you the feel of the individual stem that you are pulling —without the thorns. With gloves on you can also pull all the poison ivy without worry of being covered in rash later that day.

  4. eli Hart

    Best weeding advice I’ve ever seen . . . and I love the “belly weeding”. Only one thing missing in your finished product – an ice cold beer (or in my case, a nice glass of wine). Unless of course you’re weeding early in the morning. If that’s the case – you need to pour either of the above into a coffee cup. Wouldn’t want the neighbors talking about you . . . being Mr. Belly Weeder and all.


  5. Alison

    Great weeding tips and very entertaining read. I like wearing throwaway latex gloves, I can feel all the things you need to feel through them just fine, and they keep my fingers and fingernails from getting dirty. Without them, there is no way I can get my nails and hands clean enough to touch/prepare food. And I like my kneeler, although I have been known to do a stretch similar to the one showed.

  6. Gaia Gardener:

    Ah, the days of squatting like that are now past. Sitting on my butt on the ground is the current weeding stance of choice. I am in total agreement about the lack of gloves (although I do use Atlas gloves if the weeding will be terribly prolonged) – I’m not sure my husband appreciates the callouses and dirty nails as much as your wife does, however.

    And the belly posture while reaching under a shrub? Last time I did that (in Mobile, Alabama) I came within literal inches of disturbing a yellow jacket nest. Just looking at the photo made my insides curdle!

  7. Sue

    I agree–no gloves. Thankfully dear hubby is used to seeing hands like dried cracked leather serving up his evening drink. Perhaps that’s WHY he drinks? No matter. I love weeding–it’s MY time with MY thoughts.

  8. Meta

    I use the latex gloves too. They are great for weeding.
    Your educational take on weeding was very entertaining. And thanks for showing your weedy patch, I have quite a few of them myself. I am glad I am in such good company as yourself.

  9. Leslie's Garden

    Hmmm, my calloused hands are good back scratchers…is this a good thing?;) I love your weeding etiquette, but I could never do the “weed pulling body form” in the topic 2 picture! You’re a hoot! And your newly weeded area is awesome!

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