If there is anything that can ruin a great gardening experience, it’s weeds. What was full of promise and hope becomes a mass of unbridled growth and disorganization. According to us, a weed is any plant that is growing where it’s not supposed to. In this blog, we are going to talk about some good techniques to rid your world of weeds, or at least how to reduce their impact on your garden.
So how do you best take care of garden weeds?
Keeping your garden absolutely weed free is probably best left to those who have a high tolerance for detail. Keeping your garden clean is much more doable. Over the years as our father, Charlie, has tended his garden, the best weed control secret we have learned from him is to be consistent – to check your garden daily and take care of the weeds on a regular basis. If daily is too much, then check it every 2 or 3 days, just be consistent and get those weeds when they are babies
Another thing that improves the weed situation in a garden is to prevent it in the first place. Whenever you are importing soil to your yard, make sure that it is sterile or weed free. The worst thing for a garden is to have soil that is full of quack grass or Canadian thistle. You will be battling those weeds FOREVER. What should you do if you get contaminated soil? You can cover it with black plastic for an extended period of time, like 3-6 weeks, so the soil heats up and the weeds and seeds are destroyed. And then you may use the soil. Why not just spray the weeds with weed killer? You will only get the weeds that are currently growing. Heating up the soil will hopefully kill the seeds too.
When pulling any weed, make sure you get the root. If the root is left in the soil, often the plant will grow bushier and the roots grow more vigorous. You may find that it is difficult to get the root by just pulling it out of the ground. It’s easier to pull weeds when the soil is moist – the roots slide out better. When the soil is super dry, the roots hang in there like pulling a young child off a merry-go-round. Get yourself a weed pulling tool – something that can help dig out or loosen the root. This may be as simple as a screw driver. Small trowels work well, too. Since clipping with small pruning shears and weeding seem to go hand in hand, you can use the end of the shears to help dig out the root. This may not be the best for the shears but it is efficient for weeding. And you can clean up the shears after you’re done. And you can get your shears sharpened at the end of the summer.
Other things that make weeding easier:
- Weeds pull out of moist soil easier than dry or soggy wet soil.
- Weeds come out of the soil better when they are young, the smaller the better.
- Be sure to not compost weeds that have seed heads, these weeds will grow in your compost pile.
Another thing that really helps with weed control is mulch. Mulch is the single most effective way to lessen the load of your garden and to control weeds. Check out our blog called The Magic of Mulch for more details on mulch.
Gardening is a lot about being consistent. Actually, life is a lot that way too. Stick with it, day in and day out, check your garden and care for it regularly and and you will stay on top of the watering, the deadheading, and the weeding. Here’s to a wonderful, weed free garden!
– by Sharon Wallish Murphy