Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Our Readers Tell Us Their MOST-DREADED Garden Chores

For our December 2012 Washington Gardener Reader Contest, Washington Gardener Magazine asked readers to tell us what gardening chores you most dread doing and why.

We got some great answers that I'm sure many of you can relate to as well. Not surprisingly, many had to do with weeding, but many also despise the end-of-season garden clean-up. Here are a few of the submissions:

~ I hate cutting everything down/back. It feels like defeat, like I can't make it one more day. Which is why I still have roses and petunias. In a snow storm.
Getting rid of chickweed and henbit (are they the same?) that sprout up everywhere, not only among my flowers and veggies but especially among the few blades of grass that I try to coax into the semblance of a small lawn.
~ Turning the compost pile is my most dreaded garden chore because it is hard physical work!
The fall clean-up is definitely tops on my list of chores most dreaded.  It’s a must-do and seems as though it hits me all at once after the first killing frost.  Every year I try to plan for it and every year I fail miserably.
~ The garden chore I dread the most is cutting down ornamental grasses.  It takes a long time, using a hand pruner (because I do not use a chain saw), to make the remaining grass "stubs" look presentable.  A big pain is to stuff the dead grass into bags for county yard waste recycling.  I do not compost ornamental grass as it seems to take forever for it to break down. 
~ Well, mine is a love-hate issue.  I like to weed and have a neat garden, but it can be overwhelming if an area is too big.  Also, I have bad knees, so I'm usually in pain after weeding and planting.
~ The garden chore I most dislike it weeding--unless its after a hard rain and then I love it because I can pull them up easily and get the roots.  Also, fertilizing roses. No matter how careful I am, I always manage to get caught on the thorns.
The gardening task I dread most is inspecting for deer damage. :( Because it is heartbreaking.
~ The garden task I dread the most is weeding, because it is a never-ending battle. It feels like all of the work that I do is wiped out in a few days especially if I don’t keep up with it regularly. I have a lot invasive that creep into my yard from the adjacent woods, so I can’t eradicate them all, I can only cut them back. Also, some of them are hard to pull as they have thorns or are poison ivy so I can’t do them all on my way in out of the yard for a few minutes. I don’t like to use herbicides but it is tempting.
~  The garden task I hate the most is keeping ahead of the cool weather weeds.  They tend to be hard to pull and often the ground is very cold, they are brittle, and...any excuse not to do it!
~ Emptying and/or moving clay container pots to shed or garage or inside when the weather gets colder.
~ Pruning the climbing rose bush.
~ Raking willow oak leaves anywhere, but particularly out of the perennial garden.
~ The chore I most dread is weeding.  I am not always consistent about it and so when I let it go for too long it becomes a real chore. Moral of the story? (1) Prevention; and when prevention fails (2) Keep up with the weeding!

The winner of our Reader Contest chosen at random from among our entrants is Jeavonna Chapman of Baltimore, MD. She receives our brand new Local Gardening Task Calendar. Each month includes a list of what to do in the garden for local DC-MD-VA and Mid-Atlantic gardeners, along with a gorgeous photo of a seasonal flower from a local DC-area public gardens’ collection.

You can order one for yourself and as gifts for your favorite local gardeners by going to: http://www.cafepress.com/washgardener. (Note that you can select the calendar to start with whatever month you choose.)

So what gardening chores do YOU most dread doing and why?

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