By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Weeding in winter – seriously. Getting out in the garden on a sunny January day gives you some fresh air and exercise, and it helps keep weeds that germinate in winter under control so they won’t be running rampant come spring.

On a warm winter’s day, only the top half inch or so of soil gets soft from the heat of the sun, and that’s about all you need to scrape back with a swivel hoe or ‘hula hoe’ to disturb the short roots of those weed seedlings. The firm ground below keeps you from digging too deeply, and within a few minutes, you can clear a large swath of space in your garden beds. Just leave the weeds lying there on the ground with their roots exposed to fry in the sun or freeze and die – which is simple and satisfying.

If you weed your beds again in a few weeks, you’ll get the next crop of winter weeds too. That means that come spring, you’ll find far fewer of those tenacious patches of chickweed that take hours to dig out – just at the time when you’d rather be planting.

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