So maybe it doesn’t spark the excitement of National Doughnut Day (June 2) or National Chocolate Ice Cream Day (June 7) or even National Selfie Day (no, you haven’t missed that—it’s June 21). But here at Seed Savers Exchange, we think National Weed Your Garden Day—observed annually on June 13—has a whole lot going for it too.
Consider, for example, that weeding doesn't just help your flowers and veggies stay healthy. A half-hour of weeding burns about 135 calories for women and 180 for men so it’s a great way for you to get (or stay) in shape, all while reaping the myriad benefits of being outdoors.
Of course, most of us want to avoid weeds in the first place, and while healthy soil and cover crops can help prevent unwanted plants from sprouting, sometimes weeds proliferate anyway. And when that happens, there’s not much else you can do but remove those weeds by hand. Excessive weeds will steal the nutrients your veggies and flowers need to flourish.
What’s a weed, you ask? A weed is pretty much any plant you hadn’t planned for in your garden space, or a wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants. If you’re not sure if a given plant is a weed—and you have enough space in your garden—just wait and see. Sooner or later, you’ll figure out if it’s something you should keep. Following are a few more tips, offered in celebration of National Weed Your Garden Day:
- Use ground cover—cover the soil along rows and between plants with mulch or bark to prevent weed growth.
- Place your plants closer together to give those weeds less room to grow.
- Keep soil moist and loose for easier weed pulling.
- Be sure to pull out the entire weed, including the roots; otherwise, it will be back. You can bet the proverbial farm on that.
- Have at least one great tool on hand to help you extract those deeper, more stubborn, roots.
So, go ahead, pull on those gardening gloves, grab a hand trowel, and spend an extra five or 10 minutes weeding your garden today. You just might find it even more enjoyable than downing a cruller on National Doughnut Day!