Weeding can start out as a relaxing process in the spring, but quickly turns into a gardener’s worst nightmare if it gets out of control. Follow these tips to keep the weeds in your garden under control, so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor!
- Mulch and more mulch. Bare soil is a air-borne seeds’ best friend. You can prevent weeds from taking root by covering the ground with mulch or other materials: grass clippings, straw, shredded leaves, or compost. Organic materials are best, as they will decompose and enrich your soil with nitrogen.
- Aerate your soil by hoeing. Hoe around the base of your plants once a week to loosen any weeds and then collect them in a bucket and set them in the sun to burn. Make sure you do not over-hoe your soil, though, as it can allow seeds of weeds to take root. Tilling plants encourages weeds even more than hoeing, so use mulch or plant cover crops instead of tilling.
- Don’t let it get out of control. Slow and steady wins the race! Save hours of weeding on the weekends by spending 10-15 minutes every day. This will prevent the roots of weeds from having time to grow big.
- “Pull when wet; hoe when dry.” Pulling weeds is much easier after a drenching rain or your have watered your garden. Don’t try pulling weeds in dry soil; it will just cause frustration – trust us!
- Keep paths weed free: The weeds in your paths will transplant themselves into your garden beds, so it’s extra important to keep paths free of weeds. You can cover your paths with black plastic, with stones or gravel, or with straw. Just make sure that your 10 minutes of weeding time per day includes walking rows.
- Plant cover crops. Farmers have been planting cover crops in the fall to prevent spring and summer weeds, as well as promote a healthy soil ecosystem. Cover crops do double duty as fertilizers for the garden. Again, bare soil is an invitation for weeds to take root.