A weed free garden is the dream of every gardener. Evidently, no one has time for weeds. Loads of gardeners mangle their fingers wondering how to keep weeds out of garden. If anything, there are better things to do other than weeding our gardens every now and then, isn’t it?
Have weeds wrecked havoc and turned your garden into a nightmare? Worry not; there is loads of gardeners who are like you and as always, we got your back. Bear in mind that keeping weeds out of garden may be daunting in the beginning. However, your hard work will ultimately bear fruits. Read on to learn how to dramatically cut weeds out of your garden.
What is a weed?
A weed is simply an unwanted plant growing where it is undesired-e.g. in your garden. Weeds not only compete with your plants for resources such as water and sunlight but also harbor pests and diseases.
Are weeds all that bad?
In all fairness, this lies in the eye of the beholder. However, as a way of giving credit where it deserves, weeds are not all that bad. Their benefits include:
- Helping in compaction and control of soil erosion.
- They increase the organic content of soil as they grow and die.
- They help increase soil moisture.
- Acts as shelter or living mulch.
- Help attract beneficial insects and pollinators.
- They help fix nutritional imbalances thus improving soils.
- Provides home and food for microbes.
- Some weeds are edible thus serving as food for human beings.
There you go; everything has its own advantages and disadvantages. However, the aforementioned benefits of weeds shouldn’t blind our eyes to let weeds continue to take a toll of our gardens.
In the long run, weeds do more harm than good. You don’t want to have weeds steal your plant’s resources and deny them the chance to grow proper, do you? That way, eradicating them shouldn’t take a second thought. Here is how to stop weeds from doing their job in your garden.
How to Keep Weeds out of Garden?
Just like there’s more than one way to skin a cat, there is more than one way to keep weeds out of garden. You can either use chemicals or eliminate them naturally.
Use of Chemicals
By now, you probably know that we hate weeds in the garden just like you do. However, eliminating weeds by use of chemicals normally do more harm than good. We don’t advocate for their usage in the bid to keep weeds out of garden.
Chemicals not only destroy the soil structure but can also kills beneficial bugs, bees, worms and various microorganisms that help in soil aeration.
Some herbicides can render your garden’s soil useless for decades. You don’t want to imagine that, right? Therefore, shun chemicals as a way of keeping weeds out of garden. Again, they’re not economically viable considering the priceless natural methods of eradicating weeds out of garden.
Natural Ways to Keep Weeds Out Of Garden
Mulch is a layer of materials such as hay, grass clippings, straw, wood chips, leaves, and pine needles that are applied to the soil surface. Put down a good thick layer to eradicate the weeds.
In addition to keeping away weeds, mulching helps in moisture retention, moderation of soil temperature among others. Mulch also decomposes after some time thus putting humus back to the soil.
Secret Sauce: Some of the great sources of mulch are tainted by herbicides. As such, ensure your source of mulch is organic.
Guess you didn’t know that newspapers are a great weed inhibitor. Well, to keep weeds out of garden, put down a thick layer of newspapers on the soil then add a thin layer of mulch to hold down the papers.
Ready your beds by putting compost, the worm castings then the soaked hose before laying down your newspaper. This ensures sufficient watering of your plants while the weed seeds that land on top don’t.
Make small holes through the newspapers where you’ll place your seeds/plants. Ultimately, these too decompose thus adding humus to your garden soil.
3. Use of Salt
This is an effective way of eradicating weeds from your garden. Salt dehydrates the weeds by releasing their nutrients to the soil and preventing them from absorbing water.
Sadly, salt may have adverse effects on the soil. However, if used sparingly, it’s worth the risk.
4. Use of Cardboard
Just like newspapers, these are a wonderful barrier and an effective way of inhibiting weeds naturally. The beneficial garden critters thrive under cardboard. As such, fungi and earthworms will love you for it.
The disadvantage is that apart from being hard to tear holes through them for planting, they also don’t let water through easily. A little mulch on top will be great addition for the whole season.
5. No Till
According to experts, each inch of the garden has weed seeds. However, only those at the top inches get access to enough light and germination. As such, frequent cultivation and digging tends to give the hidden weed seeds access to sunlight by bringing them to the surface.
We won’t tell you to never till your garden, at times you must. However, we suggest that once you do, cover the tilled areas with a tarp to smother and kill the weeds that you just uncovered.
6. Use of Vinegar
Plants hate vinegar. Put it into a spray bottle; isolate the weeds you want to eliminate by using a dog cone then spray just the weeds to kill them. You may need to reapply it later to kill the stubborn and persistent weeds.
Do this wisely though since it doesn’t discriminate between the plants you dislike and the ones you like. We recommend that you use the vinegar when it’s sunny. It will cause the plants to dehydrate and die faster.
7. Boiling Water
Yes, you read it right. Hot water can kill weeds. Simply pour it over the weeds and let it ‘cook’ them. Once again, be keen on what’s around them. You don’t want to hurt the wrong plants.
8. Grow your Plants in Blocks to Shade Out Weeds
Growing crops close together is a great way to eradicate weeds by shading them.
Undoubtedly, fire kills plants. Don’t you think you can wisely target it on the plants you wish to kill? A propane torch is a great way of focusing the fire light where it’s needed. The red dragon flame weeder makes it easy to use, especially on big gardens.
Simply plant and water your garden then before the sprout, work on it with the flame weeder. This eradicates all the weeds therein and ensures zero competition for your new seedlings.
It’s a great way to keep weeds out of garden especially where you can’t use mulch. Just ensure that things are well watered prior to usage of this method then have a hose within to put out any eruption of fire.
This entails covering your garden with a plastic tarp for a month or longer before planting or immediately after the season. Prepare and adequately water the beds before placing it.
The tarp keeps off sunlight and steams any water therein. Eventually, the weeds die. What’s more, this method also kills most crop diseases and harmful fungi. We recommend a black plastic tarp for optimal results.
11. Eat them
If they’re edible, chances are you don’t mind their growth. If you do, eat them or feed them to your chicken, ducks or even worms.
Some weeds such as dandelion, yellow dock, plantain, chickweed and lambs quarters are very nutritious. Needless to say, ensure the weeds you pick are safe for consumption.
12. Selective Irrigation
Simply use a soak hose or drip irrigation to water only where the desired plants are.
This discourages weeds from growing by denying them one of most important life components-water.
13. Cover Cropping
A cover crop is a plant that you have no intention of harvesting. When there are no crops in the garden, simply cut the cover crop and lay it there on the garden bed.
It’s a wise way of adding nutrients into the soil and also acts as mulch thus smothering weeds out of your garden. You can let ducks or chickens feed on it while depositing some fertilizer thereon in return.
14. Pull Them By Hands
They say that ‘the best fertilizer is the gardener’s shadow.’ While pulling the weeds may be a daunting task, it allows you’re the opportunity of getting to know what’s really going on with your plants.
Also, it’s a great of determining the nutritional needs of your plants. If you’re visiting your garden severally, it’s not hard to pull out the weeds when they’re small thus controlling their blossom.
Wrapping It Up…
Let’s face it, occasionally; we’re going to have a few weeds here and there. That shouldn’t kill our zeal to have enviable gardens.
Hopefully, the above methods will prove handy in keeping weeds out of your garden. With proper planning and a little effort, your weeds pressure will end and you’ll start to enjoy a bounty of tasty edibles and beautiful greenery with hardly any sight of a weed in your garden.
Best of luck as you keep weeds out of garden.