Keeping weeds out of your organic garden is always a challenge. In fact it is nigh impossible to get rid of them entirely. Birds, animals and even we humans even can help spread the seeds which inevitably sprout up in our garden bed. Sometimes it just seems easier to spray on some roundup and get rid of them, however when your garden is organic that is not an option. Not to mention how the chemical might harm the plants you want to keep, or more importantly the humans who eat the plants!
So why should we deal with weeds? (some of them are beautiful and have nice flowers after all!). Well mainly because they compete with the plants that we really want to grow, the ones that provide us with those glorious packets of natural goodness we call fruits and vegetables. If weeds eat up all that goodness in the soil, and steal the sunlight by growing tall, our poor plants will find it challenging to get ahead.
Here are a seven tips to deal with weeds in your organic garden.
1. Do not use Chemicals!
While some household chemicals can be used to kill weeds it maybe not be the best solution for your garden. If you are controlling weeds elsewhere (like in cracks on a path) opting for a natural alternative like vinegar might be better than a roundup or weedkiller.
2. Get them while they are Young
If you wait till they are older, then it will be much harder to pull them out of the ground as their root system is more established. Also, they already have a lot of stored energy from all those nutrients and sunlight, so they are more likely to come back again!
3. Use the Right Tool!
Gloves come in handy when weeding and a bucket or other container to put the weeds in is also important, but you might also need to use a hoe or hand tool to help as as well to loosen the soil and make it easier. Most perennials will die if you use a hoe to chop off the roots just below the surface as then they will use up their store of energy and not be able to replenish it with the sunlight. Check out the video below for tips on what tools to use.
(How to Pick the right Tool for Weeding the Garden – Youtube: by nmsuaces)
4. Follow the 10 Day rule:
10 days after tilling the garden, rake the parts that haven’t been tilled, and bury all the baby weed shoots that are almost invisible. They won’t be able to survive if they are buried.
(Note that vines, some weeds and other creepers still may come back as they store their energy in the root system and can grow even if the tiniest bit is left. See the next step for how to deal with these)
5. Cook Them
No, I don’t mean in a pot! Firstly you should plan to leave the bed fallow for the growing season. Then rake or pull out the weeds and make sure the soil is moist before putting plastic over it. Leave it for around 6 weeks and the weeds will cook with the heat under the plastic and die. This can also be an effective method to deal with vines, and other persistent weeds.
6. Pull them out by hand.
This is one of the most basic but effective ways to get rid of weeds in your garden, especially if you already have plants in there. Remember rule number one – no chemicals, and make sure you weed regularly to make sure they don’t get a foothold. (See the 10 Day rule above)
It might also be worthwhile investing in a good pair of gloves early on to protect your hands. Although some people do like the feel of the earth on their skin.
A good layer of mulch over the top of the garden soil can also help prevent the weeds from seeing the light of day and prevent them from getting enough energy to take hold. So spread a generous layer of mulch over your garden to help with the weeds. Check out the video below on how to stop weeding your garden by using Mulch.
Ultimately persistence is key, and if you keep at it you will end up with a garden mostly weed free. We hope you find some of these tips useful and would love to hear if you have any of your own tips for keeping your organic garden weed free!
For more information about making The best mulch for your organic Garden – Click Here