310-Managing Weed Overwhelm: A Practical Organic Approach for Real Results, with Margaret Roach-Encore Presentation

| Care, Podcast

Keeping up with weeding is one of the chief complaints that gardeners have, but it’s no reason to throw in the towel. My guest Margaret Roach, the New York Times garden writer and founder of A Way to Garden, shares her advice for managing weed overwhelm using organic control methods.

Margaret is a lauded writer and podcaster. She was an executive vice president and editorial director for Martha Stewart Living before trading life in New York City for a home in the country — a 2.3-acre property in upstate New York. She is also a former garden and fashion editor for Long Island’s daily newspaper Newsday, and since 2020 has penned the “In the Garden” column for The New York Times. Her books include “The Backyard Parables,” “And I Shall Have Some Peace There,” and A Way to Garden.” 


Margaret Roach shares her advice for managing Weed Overwhelm.

Margaret Roach hosts the podcast “A Way to Garden” and has a website and book of the same name. She also writes In The Garden, a gardening column for The New York Times. (photo: Erica Berger) (photo: Erica Berger)


Margaret practices a thoughtful and intentional approach to weed management to keep things under control with minimal effort. Both of us actually enjoy weeding — it’s satisfying and meditative to move from space to space and remove the herbaceous nuisances — but we understand why for others, it’s their least favorite part of gardening. We want them to know that weed overwhelm is not inevitable. 

As Margaret explains, the key to keeping up with weeding and never getting overwhelmed is to slow down, not move so fast from task to task, and take time to observe the little changes in your garden. When you are more observant, you’ll notice weeds when they’ve just sprouted and can be removed easily, rather than after they have grown and become more of a nuisance to remove.

Researching the weeds commonly found in your garden will lead you to the most effective control method. Different weeds propagate themselves in different ways, and if you understand that one weed in your garden will spread only after it goes to seed while another is already spreading by rhizomes, you can prioritize the plants to weed out the soonest and you’ll know how to remove them effectively so they won’t come back.

For a full recap of my conversation with Margaret Roach on weed overwhelm, check out the show notes from the original airing.


Weeds collected in a tub trug.

A garden full of weeds can feel overwhelming but there are steps you can take to get things under control with minimal effort.


If you haven’t already listened to this episode on weed overwhelm, you can do so now by scrolling to the top of the page and clicking the Play icon in the green bar under the page title.

How do you make weeding manageable? Let us know in the comments below.

Links & Resources

Some product links in this guide are affiliate links. See full disclosure below.

Episode 006: Weedless Gardening with Lee Reich

Episode 015: Life Lessons on Gardening and Design with Margaret Roach

Episode 020: Gardening for the Birds with Margaret Roach

Episode 065: Tips For Reducing Garden Overwhelm, With Margaret Roach

Episode 080: Putting the Garden to Bed: End-of-Season Advice from Margaret Roach

Episode 101: A Way to Garden: Observations and Lessons, with Margaret Roach

Episode 110: Why Mulch Matters in Every Garden: What You Need to Know

Episode 120: Poison Ivy: What You Need to Know to Minimize Its Impact on You and Your Landscape

Episode 124: Using Compost the Charles Dowding Way: More Than Just a Great Soil Amendment

Episode 155: Managing Weeds Organically: Rodale Institute’s Latest Research, Prevention and Control

Episode 157: How to Prevent Weed Overwhelm: A Practical Organic Approach for Real Results, With Margaret Roach

joegardener Online Gardening Academy™: Popular courses on gardening fundamentals; managing pests, diseases & weeds; seed starting and more.

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Organic Vegetable Gardening: My new premium online course. The course is designed to be a comprehensive guide to starting, growing, nurturing, and harvesting your favorite vegetables: no matter what you love to eat, no matter where you live, no matter your level of gardening experience.

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Master Seed Starting: Everything you need to know to start your own plants from seed — indoors and out. 

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Beginning Gardener Fundamentals: Essential principles to know to create a thriving garden.

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Growing Epic Tomatoes: Learn how to grow epic tomatoes with Joe Lamp’l and Craig LeHoullier. 

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Master Pests, Diseases & Weeds: Learn the proactive steps to take to manage pests, diseases and weeds for a more successful garden with a lot less frustration. Just $47 for lifetime access!

joegardener Online Gardening Academy Perfect Soil Recipe Master Class: Learn how to create the perfect soil environment for thriving plants.

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Growing a Greener World®  


Growing a Greener World® Episode 418: Garden with Margaret Roach

Growing a Greener World® Episode 526: Backyard Birds

Margaret Roach:

The New York Times: In the Garden: “The Dirty Secret About Weeding”

In the Garden: “Herbicides: What to Know Before You Use Them”

The Backyard Parables: Lessons on Gardening, and Life” by Margaret Roach

And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading in the Fast Lane for My Own Dirt Road” by Margaret Roach

A Way to Garden: A Hands-On Primer For Every Season” by Margaret Roach


Weeds of North America, by Richard Dickinson

UC Davis: Weed Research & Information Center

University of Minnesota Extension: Weed Identification

University of Missouri: Division of Plant Sciences: Weed ID Guide

Proven Winners ColorChoice – Our podcast episode sponsor and Brand Partner of 

Earth’s Ally – Our podcast episode sponsor and Brand Partner of 

Soil3 Our podcast episode sponsor and Brand Partner of 

Greenhouse Megastore – Our podcast episode sponsor and Brand Partner of – Enter code JOEGARDENER for 15% off your order

Disclosure: Some product links in this guide are affiliate links, which means we get a commission if you purchase. However, none of the prices of these resources have been increased to compensate us, and compensation is not an influencing factor on their inclusion here. The selection of all items featured in this post and podcast were based solely on merit and in no way influenced by any affiliate or financial incentive, or contractual relationship. At the time of this writing, Joe Lamp’l has professional relationships with the following companies who may have products included in this post and podcast: Corona Tools, Milorganite, Soil3, Greenhouse Megastore, Territorial Seed Company, Earth’s Ally, Proven Winners ColorChoice and Dramm. These companies are either Brand Partners of and/or advertise on our website. However, we receive no additional compensation from the sales or promotion of their product through this guide. The inclusion of any products mentioned within this post is entirely independent and exclusive of any relationship.

About Joe Lamp'l

Joe Lamp’l is the creator and “joe” behind joe gardener®. His lifetime passion and devotion to all things horticulture has led him to a long-time career as one of the country’s most recognized and trusted personalities in organic gardening and sustainability. That is most evident in his role as host and creator of Emmy Award-winning Growing a Greener World®, a national green-living lifestyle series on PBS currently broadcasting in its tenth season. When he’s not working in his large, raised bed vegetable garden, he’s likely planting or digging something up, or spending time with his family on their organic farm just north of Atlanta, GA.

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