Weeding is not a favorite gardening chore, but it's inescapable. Before you consider using herbicides, try this natural approach to garden weed control. It does require persistence on your part, but if you consistently nip those weeds as soon as they crop up, over time you'll find that fewer and fewer of these pesky plants will be found. We asked our friends at Barmekin Groundcare to give us a few tips on how to practice effective organic weed control and heres what they had to say.
The first rule of an organic weed control program is to never, ever, toss pulled weeds into your compost pile. While the heat may kill some of them, there's always a few that come back to life. Bag up those weeds in a black plastic bag and let them bake! Don't mix this in any of your beds.
As soon as spring is on it's way, take advantage of mild days and go out in the garden and start plucking the weeds from their cozy little spots in the garden. Be methodical and tackle one area at a time. A small bucket with a handle is easy to carry from area to area. Then, on to trash bag heaven!
Your successful garden weed control program must be repeated at least once a week. If you have the opportunity to get to it a couple of times a week, so much the better. The faster you get them out, the quicker you'll reach the virtually weed free goal. Some put out long tap roots quickly. You know what happens then. The root breaks off and comes back stronger than ever, as well as being even more difficult to eradicate.
Within just a few weeks after the arrival of warmer days, you'll notice a definite decrease in the number of weeds. You'll notice this because each area will take less time to police for these little culprits. Your garden weed control program is starting to bear fruit – your time savings!
In these water conscious times, more gardeners are seeing the value of mulching. A layer of mulch helps the soil to retain water, but it does double duty in squelching weed eruptions. The mulch, spread about 2-3 inches thick, tends to suffocate any would be weeds. However, if you see one pop up, go get it!
Installing an automatic watering system, with flat strips of finely perforated hosing, allows you to water right at the base of the plants you want to grow, starving out the weeds on the periphery. The slow, deep watering makes your plants more vigorous and doesn't waste water. Incidentally, the best time to water is early in the morning. Watering in the middle of the day can shock your plants, flowers and vegetables, while wasting water that evaporates quickly. Watering too late in the day is an invitation to molds.
Raised beds are a boon to the organic garden weed control objective. Garden soil always contains weed seeds. If you use nursery soil and composted amendments and fertilizers to fill your raised beds, you're starting from a baseline of very few weeds cropping up anywhere. Raised beds are also easier to weed, as you can sit comfortably on the edge of the bed, instead of crouching for hours.
Really, the whole trick to this garden weed control strategy is that you be unrelenting in your weekly weeding and apply fresh mulch as soon as the weather warms. By mid-summer, you can have a virtually weed free garden