When you're trying to eradicate garden weeds, it's important to get at them early, while they're in the thread. A phrase I really, really love.
AKA tear 'em out when they're babies, just putting feelers into the soil, before they've created whole tribes down there. Which they will.
Actually, the first best thing to do is blast the garden bed with a flame-weeder while the weed-babies are just beginning to put their watery little arms up into the air. Flame-weeding is a lot like playing the farm version of Tank Girl (cue the heart-eyes emoticon): the kerosene incredibly cold in its metal tank, the flame wand unimaginably hot and dangerous. The continuous loud blast-off sound, the confident walk in the straightest of lines, the arm muscles knotting up... I'm not flame-weeding these days, but I miss it. I am, however, hand-pulling weeds, muddy-fingered, everydamnday.
Getting them in the thread is all about timing. (Secret: EVERYTHING is all about timing.)
Everything is about timing. Sometimes you're on it. And sometimes you're not. My garden is weed-free, but it's practically entirely plant-free. Because of the drought, because of the groundhogs, because of a lack of forethought / perennials, because of the rocks I've already written about, because of a mental block and other priorities, because life. I'm diligently weeding, everydamnday, but it's like brushing your hair diligently when you never wash it. (Actually lots of friends have gorgeous hair they never wash.) It's like sewing a perfect line with no thread in the machine. Or perfectly maintaining a car but never filling it with gas. The garden can be clean as a whistle (What does that idiom mean?) but weed-free doesn't necessarily equate to flower-filled.
This is today's complaint. This is June, which has a surprising dearth of annual blooms. A flower farmer told me that about June once, and I was shocked. You have to plant perennials if you want flowers in early June, she said, and I tilted my head like a pup. But it's true. Come July, August, September, even October, I hope to swim through the garden, barely seeing past the nearest wall of blooms. Dive-bombed by pollen-drunk bees. I will lay on the weed-free path and stare up through a canopy of feathery cosmos. Each tiny amaranth seedling I squat to inspect now will be 6 or 7 feet tall. It'll be a glut to make you disgusted with flowers.
Just gotta stick the timing. Gotta stay on it, keep watch, diligently sew the line with the invisible thread. Forgive the things that should have happened already. Carry the flame-weeder of compassion in the mind. Man I love Tank Girl.