Weeds – pull ‘em now.

passed iris and lavender_edited The nearly constant drizzle, sprinkles, showers, and downright downpours we’ve had of late has put me way behind in my gardening plans. By now I’ve usually finished weeding, mulching, edging but currently half the beds still need weeding and mulch, and many of the iris and early bloomers still need to be deadheaded. Iris stalks should not look like those in the photo when lavender is ready to open.

Every Connecticut gardener I’ve encountered of late has commented on the nearly constant moisture we’ve had this spring. Too much rain has caused rot in many freshly planted annuals, plus an inordinate number of slugs that, in turn, have chomped down many more plants. I’m already hearing about powdery mildew, a high humidity side effect that often attacks phlox – one of our summer bloom staples – as well as foliage on many other plants (for more on powdery mildew, including photos, see uconnladybug’s blog).

weeding in progress_edited Then there’s the weeds which have grown … well … like weeds. But this rapid growth makes them easy to identify and easier to pull free from the soil. I have a bucket and gloves at the ready so between drizzle and downpours, I can zip out to yank a few weeds. Once the weather breaks into ‘real’ summer, dry soil makes weeds harder to pull than a post from concrete. Weeding for 15 minutes here and there now will save you a sizeable amount of time and effort later, particularly if you catch your weeds before they go to seed.

Finally, to really cut back on weeding chores, spread mulch to suppress future weed growth. I like natural shredded cedar mulch or shredded autumn leaves for perennial/annual beds, and dried grass clippings from early spring lawn mowing for the vegetable garden. When grass clippings run out, I dig for leaf mold from the bottom of mounds of fallen leaves left the year before.

So my last gardening days of June will be spent weeding, deadheading and, provided I get a couple of hours without heavy rain, mulching. Once the weather breaks, and the heat of summer descends upon us, I’ll be able to sit back and enjoy the view.

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