The New Year always comes with the promise of happy times and lots of good luck. Well, for the garden, good luck means rain. And that great stuff helps our native plants grow. Unfortunately, rain also brings unwanted company to the garden in the form of weeds. A very smart person once told me, “John, a weed can be any plant growing in the wrong place”….. for example, California poppies.

I had a client whose yard was overtaken by California poppies. She said she had been told it was against the law to remove the poppies. I assured her that the ‘poppy police’ would not fine us and so we waited for the plants to set seed. I then removed the plants and collected lots of seeds, giving the seeds away. Needless to say the next Winter her yard was full of poppies again and is still to this day!

January is by far the best time for weed control in the garden. Nights are cool and the seedling weeds are small and easy to hoe under. Here are a couple of tips for weeding: First, wait two or three days after a rain event to weed, as wet soil is hard to hoe or hand pull weeds from. The soil will fall off pulled weeds easier when the soil is drier; Second, go after the largest weeds first, as these are usually the grasses which set seeds first. Compost weeds that are green and can really get your compost going. Third, do not use Round-Up unless it is absolutely necessary, and if so, follow the instructions closely. Lastly, when weeding, use a knee pad as kneeling is safer for your back then a bent over position that is hard on the lower back and will cause you harm. Start out slow and don’t over do it the first day. Finally, mulch after weeding, if you mulch too early it will cause you headaches when you try to hoe or hand pull weeds.

Well that’s a lot to comprehend. This weeding stuff requires a sharp mind and a weeding tool, as well. Until next time, happy gardening. If you have any questions about sowing your wildflower garden, please contact me at:

John Nowak