While weeding your garden is a pain, it needs to be done to avoid rampant intruders in your garden. Try some of these easy tips for weeding your garden and preventing weeds from coming back.
Every inch of your garden has weed seeds in it, but only the ones in the top inch or two of soil get enough light to actually grow and be pesky. Digging around in your garden mixes up the soil and you could end up bringing up weed seeds to the light where they will grow. To stop them, only dig in your garden when you absolutely need to and immediately plant something or lay down mulch.
Mulch helps keep the soil cool and moist for plants and deprives weed of the light they need to grow. Organic mulch can have carabid beetles and crickets which will eat any weed seeds in your garden, leading to less weeds overall. When using mulch in your garden or lawn, be sure to keep it at least two or three inches deep to smother any potential weeds that may try to creep up.
Putting a layer of cardboard at the bottom of your raised garden bed before filling with soil will not only kill the grass in that plot but it will also act as a barrier against weeds in the future.
Home improvement stores and garden stores also sell rolls of biodegradable fabric that will act as a barrier against weeds. It blocks the light from the seeds and provides a physical barrier. Just keep in mind that if you use the fabric at the bottom of your garden bed or at the top of it, as soon as organic material starts to accumulate or seeds are left behind by birds and animals, weeds could sprout up again.
When prevention doesn't work
If you can't prevent weeds then you'll need to pull them. For better or worse, you will spend some time outside with a kneeling pad pulling weeds from your garden. Wear waterproof gloves for extensive weeding. The trick for pulling out weeds and keeping them out is to make sure that the root comes out with it when you pull.
If your weeds regrow or the root won't come up with it, then you may have to dig out the entire root. A spade or digging fork can be used to pry up a stubborn root. Remove as many root pieces as you can.
If digging and pulling are no longer options, cutting and chopping is your best bet. Cut off the heads of the weeds every week to keep them from reseeding.
Chemical-free weed killing
If prevention doesn't work and pulling is becoming too arduous, using herbicides can help. If you're wary of adding chemicals to your flower beds or your vegetable garden, try one of these chemical free alternatives.
- Concentrated vinegar - A mix of vinegar and lemon juice can "burn" the weeds with just one spray and kill the roots of tough perennials with a second spray.
- WARNING: Vinegar with 20 percent acidity (four times the normal household amount) is incredibly caustic so be sure to wear gloves and goggles.
- Organic soaps - Herbicidal soap sprays kill weeds by smothering them with a soapy, bubbly film. Perennial weeds like dandelions require several sprays before they're completely gone.