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Published on Friday, November 19, 2021

By Victoria Torley 

And back we go to weeding.

I think I have mentioned that my orthopedist told me to stay away from garden work. Iíve been good, honest. But yesterday, it hit me. We have 11 acres and I hadnít seen some of it in almost three years.

Three years!

Okay, so I overdid it a little. Okay, maybe a lot. Itís been four years since I planted my first papyrus and three since I had the black bamboo planted. I really wanted to see what was going on, so Armando and I set out on an expedition.

It really was an expedition. Things at the bottom of the property were so bad that we had a hard time finding plantings. What does that have to do with weeding? The word is Ė Donít wait too long to weed!

One source I read said that waiting was a Ďclassic gardening error.í Why? Because all weeds want to do is make baby weeds. If you wait too long to weed, the little monsters have gone to seed and now you have more weeds to deal with.

Take the papyrus, for example. Papyrus is, fortunately, a tenacious, assertive, if aggressive, plant. I am proud to say that the papyrus has taken over a three by four meter section of wetland and forced out a lot of weeds. Still, we got down and pulled out weeds around the plants so they donít have so much competition.

Armando found one black bamboo pretty quickly in spite of the overgrowth. It was kind of frail looking. I puttered around, thinking, okay, I am looking for a tiny struggling bamboo. I wasnít. Despite the weeds, one of the bamboos had hit about two and a half meters and proved itself by actually being a luxurious black. We spent some time getting the weeds around both bamboos out by the roots.

Another weeding mistake? Not top dressing the soil. Get the landscaperís fabric out there and then top dress it. Straw is a favorite top dressing, so is tree bark. The ground up tires are making headway among top dressings. It has the advantage of having no nutrients in which seeds can start, but any type of top dressing will make it hard for weeds to take hold by blocking sunlight. Top dressing is also called mulching, but mulch is usually mixed into soil. Top dressing is for . . . well, just on top.

Not that we do a lot of watering, but broadcast watering benefits weeds as much as your favorite plants. Try drip watering or exert yourself and use a hose or watering can. Your plants will thank you.

Yes, it really is a beautiful shiny black. I canít wait for it to make a nice grove and be a good harvesting size.

Editor's note: More information on this article, Ms. Victoria Torley, gardener columnist, can be reached at