To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death I thought it would be appropriate to share his tips on weeding even if these were in fact used in a metaphorical rather than a practical sense. This comes from an article by Marion Owen which I found on the Plantea website.

In his play Richard II, Shakespeare uses a garden metaphor to explain the political problems of the day: England is wasting away as a result of the royal family’s greediness. In one scene, the gardener instructs his helpers about weeding and pruning. The garden is England and the plant that needs weeding and pruning is the royal family.
By the same token, many plants and shrubs become thin and straggly, even choked out of existence, if left to grow without weeding from time to time. Weeds rob valuable nutrients from the soil and compete with your hard-earned herbs, flowers, shrubs and vegetables. Plus, they are often hosts to harmful insects and diseases, so it’s important to eliminate weeds.
The job of weeding however, is not often embraced with joy and enthusiasm. Yet weeding, as I’ll explain later can be one of your best teachers.
Weeding tips
So it goes with your health, prevention is the best cure. Keeping weeds from getting started is easier than getting rid of them. I know, you don’t want to hear this, but one way to keep weeds from taking over your garden is to weed periodically. It’s much more effective than a frantic, back-breaking session once a year. So get the weeds out before they go to seed. Post this saying on your refrigerator:

One year’s seeds is seven year’s weeds

Speaking of seeds, here’s a reason to leave your rototiller in the shed: Did you know a single weed can produce as many as 250,000 seeds? It’s a good news/bad news thing. Some seeds are viable for only a year while other can lie dormant for decades, just waiting for their chance to sprout. Buried 6 to 12 several inches deep, the lack of light keeps them from germinating. But if you dig too deeply, they’ll germinate right along with your flower, herb and vegetable seeds.

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