Dear Sandra

Hey Readers! Here’s the other gardening question I promised you last week!

Dear Sandra,

My wife and I just moved into a beautiful older home, problem is that it was empty for a year before we moved in and weeds overrun the gardens. Besides spraying and constant plucking, is there anything else we can do?

No Green Thumb in Saskatchewan

Dear No Green Thumb,

Last year my husband and I tried in vain to plant a garden and it was a beauty, until we “forgot” about it for a week or two and returned to find it looking like a miniature forest!

Weeds are pretty much invincible. It takes a lot of work and patience to keep them to a minimum. Unfortunately, if you are like us and live next door to a breeding ground for weeds (hope my neighbours read this!) you are going to have to work overtime to defeat those things.

The thing with weeds is that they can be dormant for years and germinate when the soil is cultivated or fertilized – which means disturbing the soil wakes them up. You are going to have to start by getting rid of them somehow, whether it is pulling them all by hand (here’s where you hope you have misbehaving kids to punish) or using long or short handled hoes or claws. Don’t just mow them down; it’s the entire plant, root and all, that you need to get rid of.

Once you have a semi-weed-free area, put a layer of mulch or black weed plastic (available at hardware, department and gardening stores) on the ground around bushes, shrubs, plants and walkways. This will inhibit the growth of the weeds. Around your plants be very attentive in pulling weeds while they are still small. If you want to have a garden, might I suggest box gardening? Above ground boxes are built with cement or mulch walkways alongside to help alleviate weeds and keep gardens looking organized.

To save yourself some time, be vigilant after your harvest and do a thorough clean-sweep of your garden.



This column is for entertainment only. Sandra is not a professional counsellor, but is an AU student who would like to give personal advice about school and life to her peers. Please forward your questions to Sandra care of