Vacation Nightmares Reversed

-or- How to save your community garden plot after time away.

So you went on vacation or perhaps to a conference this summer and come back to find your garden a jungle. Things flourished while you were away, which is good because you can now easily feed a family of 16, unfortunately the other things that are doing well are the weeds…

Don’t fret! Your garden can depart from its current status of being in a shambles without backbreaking, sweat-running-into-your-eyes work. Here are a few tips to get back in shape before the next round of inspections without losing your mind or hurting yourself.

  1. You are not a failure. We all get busy, injured, go away or have some kind of life event which takes us away for a period of time. No one hates you. It’s going to be OK.
  2. Weeds come out of the ground easier when the soil is damp. Weeding in the morning when there is dew on the ground, after it rains or after a light watering will make your job easier.
  3. When weeds get big there are fewer to pull. While the normal weeding might seem like quite the task because there are lots of small weeds to grab and pull, the larger they get the fewer there are. In fact, so much so, that pulling one large weed might just clear out half a square foot of space. Provided that you have at least some of your plot planted this won’t be as long as you think when you first caught sight of all that green! Heck, maybe you should let them get big on a more regular basis so that your work is easier. Wait. Don’t do that. The Garden Committee and your neighboring plots whose soil the prolific seeds will fly into wouldn’t like that much even if it does make you life a little easier.
  4. Permaculture rocks and means fewer weeds as companion plants feed each other and make the best use of your space. As you are planting your winter crops (get them in now!,) winding down this year, or planning for next perhaps some annuals that need less care and incorporating permaculture into a section of the garden is a good idea.
  5. Tackle the project in small pieces. Part of being overwhelmed (and then probably procrastinating on doing the work) is looking at the largess of the project. Looking at the situation from the perspective of one bed or row at a time will make it much more manageable. Don’t try to do everything in one day. Take steps to get things done and you’ll be amazed at how quickly everything falls into place. Really. Give yourself two hours over the course of a few days or a week to get things back in order. You’ll thank yourself that you did.

Now get to it! I have faith that your space will be looking tiptop in no time.

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