Speed Weeding: 2012 Summer Games

Pale Yellow Platter - A Weed Macro

Pale Yellow Platter – A Weed Macro (Photo credit: cobalt123)

Speed Weeding.  It’s the latest sport to join the Un-Olympic games this year and now you can’t say you haven’t heard of it.  I discovered it this afternoon, while taking advantage of the cooled temps to weed the tomatoes.  Soon after I began my leisurely task, I saw a mosquito zipping about in front of my hands and face, its whining voice tickling my ear. 

Doggone it!  I had counted on the bugs being in for the afternoon, maybe taking a Sunday nap or watching TV on the couch, but here one was looking for a snack.  Once I caught sight of her, I jogged to another spot among the plants, wondering how long I had until I got nibbled.  I didn’t have to wait but a few seconds before I saw and heard her again.  Argh!  Why couldn’t these darn bugs mind their own business and let me finish weeding my tomatoes?? 

I figured if I was going to get this thing done and escape without injury, I would have to speed things up a little.  Keeping my eyes and ears alert, I began a 10-minute dance around the garden, kneeling to dig weeds then being discovered and rapidly changing my position, hoping to lose the mosquito for a few precious seconds.  It worked for the most part (though I did get bitten on the face), but I’ve discovered some tricks to Speed Weeding, which I will share with you.  These may be useful should you ever find yourself in a similar situation or in case you want to try out for the Speed Weeding Team at the high school, college, or Un-Olympic level.

Tips for Successful Speed Weeding

1. Be alert at all times (see Paragraph 2).

2. Work in running shoes, long socks, long pants, and a t-shirt and jacket to discourage mosquitos from attacking your limbs, their favorite treats.

3. But the real key in efficient Speed Weeding:

*Quickly spot the base of the weed.

–Dig your fingers (fast and firm) down and around an inch of the base root, catching the lower stalk between your curled thumb and forefinger.  This tactic is especially useful for those weeds with flat or thin greenery, which equals little no leverage for pulling up the weed intact. 

*However, if the weed is tall or profuse above ground, the best trick is to wrap both hands around the base, brace your legs shoulder-width apart, and give ‘er a mighty tug.

–Whichever plant you’ve got a hold of, jerk the root and stalk directly upwards together.

Other Notes & Reminders

*Beginners will want to carry a trowel as they tend to pull too quickly or do not dig far enough, snapping the weed from the root.  This costs your team major points for incomplete weed (stalk + root) removal.

–Remember that the clock is ticking, so be quick and efficient.  If the root snaps off in the dirt, you will lose speed points because you will have to spend more time digging it out without the leverage of the weed.

*You may opt to wear bug spray or a mosquito fan, but the fans have not been approved by the NSWA (National Speed Weeding Association) and some athletes dislike the idea of spraying chemicals on their skin. *Ahem* Besides, the long sleeves and pants cover every part of you, whereas you may miss a spot or two with bug spray. 

–You lose points for mosquito bites, testifying to your inability to Speed Weed while being pursued by your opponents.  Think of this rule like that in paintball.

*Difficulty points are also awarded in relation to the hardness of the soil, the type of weed, and the size of the root being removed.

–The NSWA is currently working on adding a creativity portion to this event, increasing your opportunities to gain additional points for your team.

*While this sport is very much a cardio activity, it also requires skill and concentration, in addition to an agility in working around various obstacles, making this one of the most challenging games in Un-Olympics history. 

Good luck, fellow Un-Olympians.  Be Swift.  Be Strong.  Be Super.


Much training and itch cream are recommended before attempting this sport in any professional or semi-professional arena.

2 thoughts on “Speed Weeding: 2012 Summer Games

Swing on by and chat awhile! I would serve up some lemonade and snickerdoodles, but the virtual kind don't taste very nice. Sorry about that.

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