- How to grow marijuana indoors: A beginner’s guide
- Step 1: Designate a cannabis grow ‘room’ or space
- Step 2: Choose your cannabis grow lights
- Step 3: Give your cannabis plants air
- Step 4: Pick your controls and monitoring
- Step 5: Decide on a cannabis grow medium
- Step 6: Determine what to grow your cannabis in
- Step 7: Feed your cannabis plants nutrients
- Step 8: Water your cannabis plants
- How To: Weed Your Garden
- How to Weed Your Garden
- Short Weeds
- Tall Weeds
- Taproot Weeds
- The Best Time to Weed Your Garden
- The Easiest Time to Weed Your Garden
- Garden Triage
- Know Thy Enemy
- Plan for Weeds in Your Planting
- Ten Tips for Creating Beautiful Gardens
- 10 Tips for Beautiful Gardens in Small Spaces
- 1. Add flowers or flowering plants
- 2. Control weeds
- 3. Group plants around a theme
- 4. Add some garden art
- 5. Use colourful pots or feature containers
- 6. Use multi-functional edible herbs and flowers
- 7. Create unity and diversity
- 8. Choose a feature
- 9. Beautiful gardens avoid clutter
- 10. Choose Variegated Foliage
- Garden Weeds can take over fast
- Get rid of garden weeds naturally
- When weeding your garden, you need to figure out if you have plants that need saving
- Determining if you can remove the whole area or not.
- When you need weeding by hand
- Easier still would have been to place black landscape fabric and build a garden above the grass.
- Now let’s skip ahead because using your hands is the least enjoyable of these methods for large masses of weeds
- Weeding using garden Tools
- What tools work for weeding really depends on the size and shape of your garden beds.
- How to smother weeds and build something new
- Smother the Weeds & Build Something New Methods
- Here are some great permaculture methods
- 1. Sheet Mulching/Lasagna Gardening
- Sheet mulching, or lasagna gardening, involves layering cardboard, soil, straw, compost, manure, etc into layers until you have ‘built up’ and created a new bed.
- 2. Hugelkultur
- Preventative Methods
- I’ve become a huge fan of mulching garden paths to prevent weeds.
- Weed Early & Often and Definitely Before Anything Goes to Seed
- Study your Weed Cycles
- The more you know about your weeds the better you can battle them.
- Cover Crops
- Select your weed battles based on edibility.
- If you have a large area that needs clearing
- Options for removing large areas of weeds are
- Weed-free Gardening: Learn How to Prevent Weeds from Growing Before They Start!
- How to Prevent Weeds
- Weed Gardens For Wildlife: Creating A Weed Garden Bed
- Weed Garden Tips
- How to Make a Weed Garden
- Sowing Weed Gardens for Wildlife
How to grow marijuana indoors: A beginner’s guide
Leafly StaffJune 6, 2016 Share Print
(Colton McMurray for Leafly) Congratulations, you’re interested in growing your own cannabis plants for the first time! But before you flex that green thumb of yours, understand that growing marijuana indoors presents a unique set of challenges for the new hobbyist, and the sheer volume of information available on the subject can be overwhelming.
Our guide to indoor cannabis growing will help simplify the process for you into clear, easy-to-digest sections designed to help the first-time grower get started.
Step 1: Designate a cannabis grow ‘room’ or space
The first step in setting up your personal cannabis grow is creating a suitable space in which to do it. This space doesn’t need to be the typical grow “room; it can be in a closet, tent, cabinet, spare room, or a corner in an unfinished basement. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to tailor your equipment (and plants) to fit the space.
When tackling your first grow project, you’ll want to start small for multiple reasons:
- The smaller the grow, the less expensive it is to set up
- It’s much easier to monitor a few plants than a large number
- Your mistakes as a first-time grower will be less costly
Remember, most new cannabis growers will experience setbacks and lose plants to pests or disease. A failed grow of two plants will put a far smaller dent in your wallet than 15 plants.
…But think big
When designing your space, you’ll need to take into account not only the amount of room your plants will need, but also your lights, ducting, fans, and other equipment, as well as leaving enough room for you to work. Cannabis plants can double, even triple in size in the early stage of flowering, so make sure you have adequate head space!
If your grow room is a cabinet, tent, or closet, you can simply open it up and remove the plants to work on them; otherwise, you’ll need to make sure you leave yourself some elbow room.
Cleanliness is crucial
Make sure your space is easily sanitized; cleanliness is important when growing indoors, so easy-to-clean surfaces are a must. Carpeting, drapes, and raw wood are all difficult to clean, so avoid these materials if possible.
Keep it light-tight
Another crucial criterion for a grow room is that it be light-tight. Light leaks during dark periods will confuse your plants and can cause them to produce male flowers.
When deciding where to grow your cannabis, keep the following variables in mind:
- Convenience: You’ll need to monitor your plants carefully. Checking on them every day is important, and beginners will want to check in several times per day until they have everything dialed in. If your room is hard to access, this crucial step will be difficult.
- Temperature and humidity concerns: If your grow space is already very warm or very humid, you’ll have issues controlling your grow environment. Choosing a cool, dry area with ready access to fresh air from the outdoors is highly recommended.
- Stealth: You’ll most likely want to conceal your grow from nosy neighbors and potential thieves, so be sure to pick a place where noisy fans won’t garner any unwanted attention.
Step 2: Choose your cannabis grow lights
The quality of light in your grow room will be the number one environmental factor in the quality and quantity of your cannabis yields, so it’s a good idea to choose the best lighting setup you can afford. Here’s a brief rundown of the most popular types of cannabis grow lights used for indoor growing.
HID grow lights
HID (high intensity discharge) lights are the industry standard, widely used for their combination of output, efficiency, and value. They cost a bit more than incandescent or fluorescent fixtures, but produce far more light per unit of electricity used. Conversely, they are not as efficient as LED lighting, but they cost as little as one-tenth as much for comparable units.
The two main types of HID lamp used for growing are:
- Metal halide (MH), which produce light that is blue-ish white and are generally used during vegetative growth
- High pressure sodium (HPS), which produce light that is more on the red-orange end of the spectrum and are used during the flowering stage
In addition to bulbs, HID lighting setups require a ballast and hood/reflector for each light. Some ballasts are designed for use with either MH or HPS lamps, while many newer designs will run both.
If you can’t afford both MH and HPS bulbs, start with HPS as they deliver more light per watt. Magnetic ballasts are cheaper than digital ballasts, but run hotter, are less efficient, and harder on your bulbs. Digital ballasts are generally a better option, but are more expensive. Beware of cheap digital ballasts, as they are often not well shielded and can create electromagnetic interference that will affect radio and WiFi signals.
Unless you’re growing in a large, open space with a lot of ventilation, you’ll need air-cooled reflector hoods to mount your lamps in, as HID bulbs produce a lot of heat. This requires ducting and exhaust fans, which will increase your initial cost but make controlling the temperature in your grow room much easier.
Fluorescent grow lights
Fluorescent light fixtures, particularly those using high-output (HO) T5 bulbs, are quite popular with small scale hobby growers for the following reasons:
- They tend to be cheaper to set up, as reflector, ballast, and bulbs are included in a single package
- They don’t require a cooling system since they don’t generate near the amount of heat that HID setups do
The main drawback is that fluorescent lights are less efficient, generating about 20-30% less light per watt of electricity used. Space is another concern, as it would require approximately 19 four-foot long T5 HO bulbs to equal the output of a single 600 watt HPS bulb.
LED grow lights
Light emitting diode (LED) technology has been around for a while, but only recently has it been adapted to create super efficient light fixtures for indoor growing. The main drawback to LED grow lights is their cost: well designed fixtures can cost 10 times what a comparable HID setup would. The benefits are that LEDs last much longer, use far less electricity, create less heat, and the best designs generate a fuller spectrum of light, which can lead to bigger yields and better quality.
Unfortunately, there are many shoddy LED lights being produced and marketed towards growers, so do some research and read product reviews before laying down your hard-earned cash.
Induction grow lights
Induction lamps, otherwise known as electrodeless fluorescent lamps, are another old technology that has been recently adapted to suit the needs of indoor growers. Invented by Nikola Tesla in the late 1800s, the induction lamp is essentially a more efficient, longer-lasting version of the fluorescent bulb. The main drawback of these fixtures is their price and availability.
Step 3: Give your cannabis plants air
Plants need fresh air to thrive, and carbon dioxide (CO2) is essential to the process of photosynthesis. This means you will need a steady stream of air flowing through your grow room, easily achieved by means of an exhaust fan placed near the top of the room to remove the warmer air, and a filtered air inlet on the opposite side near the floor.
You’ll need to ensure that temperatures remain within a comfortable range for your plants, between 70 degrees F and 85 degrees F when lights are on and between 58 degrees F and 70 degrees F when they are off. Some varieties of cannabis (generally indica strains) prefer the lower side of the range, while others are more tolerant of higher temperatures.
The size of your exhaust fan will depend on the size of your grow space and amount of heat generated by your lighting system. HID systems put out a ton of heat, especially if they aren’t mounted in air-cooled hoods. People who live in warmer regions will often run their lights at night in an effort to keep temperatures in their grow down.
It’s advisable to set up your lights, turn them on for a while, and then determine how much airflow you’ll need to maintain a comfortable temperature for your plants. This will allow you to choose an exhaust fan suitable for your needs. If the odor of cannabis plants in bloom will cause you problems, add a charcoal filter to your exhaust fan.
Alternately, you can create a sealed, artificial environment by using an air conditioner, dehumidifier, and supplemental CO2 system, but this is quite expensive and not recommended for the first-time grower.
Finally, it’s a good idea to have a constant light breeze in your grow room as this strengthens your plants’ stems and creates a less hospitable environment for mold and flying pests. A wall-mounted circulating fan works well for this purpose — just don’t point it directly at your plants, because that can cause windburn.
Step 4: Pick your controls and monitoring
Once you have selected your lights and climate control equipment, you’ll want to automate their functions. While there are sophisticated (and expensive) units available that control lights, temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels, the beginner will generally need a simple 24 hour timer for the light and an adjustable thermostat switch for the exhaust fan.
The timing of the light/dark cycle is very important when growing cannabis; generally you will have your lights on for 16-20 hours per 24 hour period while the plants are in vegetative growth, then switch to 12 hours of light per 24 when you want them to bloom. You need your lights to turn on and off at the same times every day or you risk stressing your plants, so a timer is essential. You can use a timer for your exhaust fan as well, but spending a few extra dollars on a thermostat switch is a much better option.
With the most basic models, you simply set the thermostat on the device to the maximum desired temperature for your space and plug your exhaust fan into it. Once the temperature rises to the level you set, it will turn the fan on until temperatures fall a few degrees below the set threshold. This saves energy and maintains a steady temperature.
Since you’re probably not spending most of your time in your grow space, a combination hygrometer/thermostat with high/low memory feature can be very handy in keeping tabs on conditions in your room. These small, inexpensive devices not only show you the current temperature and humidity level, but the highest and lowest readings for the period of time since you last checked.
It’s also a good idea to keep a pH meter or test kit on hand so you can check the pH level of your water, nutrient solution, or soil. Cannabis prefers a pH between 6 and 7 in soil, and between 5.5 and 6.5 in hydroponic media. Letting the pH get out of this range can lead to nutrient lockout, meaning your plants are unable to absorb the nutrients they need, so be sure to test your water and soil regularly and make sure the nutrient mix you are feeding your plants falls within the desired range.
Step 5: Decide on a cannabis grow medium
Growing indoors means you have many different methods to choose from, and whether it’s good old fashioned pots full of soil or a rockwool slab in a hydroponic tray, every medium has its benefits and drawbacks. Here we’ll examine the two most popular methods and the media they employ.
Soil is the most traditional medium for growing cannabis indoors, as well as the most forgiving, making it a good choice for first-time growers. Any high quality potting soil will work, as long as it doesn’t contain artificial extended release fertilizer (like Miracle Gro), which is unsuitable for growing good cannabis.
A very good choice for beginners is organic pre-fertilized soil (often referred to as “super-soil”) that can grow cannabis plants from start to finish without any added nutrients, if used correctly. This can be made yourself by combining worm castings, bat guano, and other components with a good soil and letting it sit for a few weeks, or it can be purchased pre-made from a few different suppliers.
As with all organic growing, this method relies on a healthy population of mycorrhizae and soil bacteria to facilitate the conversion of organic matter into nutrients that are useable to the plant. Alternately, you can use a regular soil mix and then supplement your plants with liquid nutrients as the soil is depleted.
Soilless (aka hydroponics)
Indoor growers are increasingly turning to soilless, hydroponic media for cultivating cannabis plants. This method requires feeding with concentrated solutions of mineral salt nutrients that are absorbed directly by the roots through the process of osmosis. The technique for quicker nutrient uptake leading to faster growth and bigger yields, but it also requires a higher order of precision as plants are quicker to react to over or underfeeding and are more susceptible to nutrient burn and lockout.
The GroBox provides everything you need to grow hydroponic cannabis in one kit. (Courtesy of GroBox)
Different materials used include rockwool, vermiculite, expanded clay pebbles, perlite, and coco coir, just to name a few. Commercial soilless mixes are widely available that combine two or more of these media to create an optimized growing mix. Soilless media can be used in automated hydroponic setups or in hand-watered individual containers.
Step 6: Determine what to grow your cannabis in
What type of container you use will depend on the medium, the system, and the size of your plants. A flood-and-drain, tray-style hydroponic system may use small net pots filled with clay pebbles or just a big slab of rockwool to grow many little plants, while a “super-soil” grow may use 10 gallon nursery pots to grow a few large plants.
Inexpensive options include disposable perforated plastic bags or cloth bags, while some choose to spend more on “smart pots,” containers that are designed to enhance airflow to the plant’s root zone. Many people grow their first cannabis plants in five gallon buckets. Drainage is key, though, as cannabis plants are very sensitive to water-logged conditions, so if you repurpose other containers, be sure to drill holes in the bottoms and set them in trays.
Step 7: Feed your cannabis plants nutrients
Growing high-quality cannabis flowers requires more fertilizer, or nutrients, than most common crops. Your plant needs the following primary nutrients (collectively known as macronutrients):
- Nitrogen (N)
- Phosphorus (P)
- Potassium (K)
These micronutrients are needed as well, albeit in much smaller quantities:
If you aren’t using a pre-fertilized organic soil mix, you will need to feed your plants at least once a week using an appropriate nutrient solution. These nutrients are sold in concentrated liquid or powder form meant to be mixed with water, and generally formulated for either vegetative or flower (“bloom”) growth. This is because cannabis has changing macronutrient requirements during its lifecycle, needing more nitrogen during vegetative growth, and more phosphorus and potassium during bud production.
Most macronutrients are sold in a two-part liquid to prevent certain elements from precipitating (combining into an inert solid that is unusable by the plant), meaning you’ll need to purchase two bottles (part A and part B) for veg, and two bottles for grow, as well as a bottle of micronutrients. Other than these basics, the only other nutrient product you may need to purchase is a Cal/Mag supplement, as some strains require more calcium and magnesium than others.
Once you’ve purchased the necessary nutrient products, simply mix them with water as directed by the label and water your plants with this solution. You should always start at half-strength because cannabis plants are easily burned. It’s almost always worse to overfeed your plants than to underfeed them, and over time you will learn to “read” your plants for signs of deficiencies or excesses.
Step 8: Water your cannabis plants
Most people won’t think twice about the water they use on their plants; if you can drink it, it must be fine, right? Well, it may not be an issue, depending on your location, but some water contains a high amount of dissolved minerals that can build up in the root zone and affect nutrient uptake, or it may contain fungus or other pathogens that aren’t harmful to people but can lead to root disease.
Additionally, some places may have high levels of chlorine in the water supply, which can be harmful to beneficial soil microbes. For these reasons, many people choose to filter the water they use in their gardens.
Get to Know What to Grow: Find Nearby Cannabis Dispensaries
The most important thing to remember during this phase is to not overwater. Cannabis plants are very susceptible to fungal root diseases when conditions are too wet, and overwatering is one of the most common mistakes made by the beginning grower. How often you water your plants will depend on the medium used, size of the plants, and ambient temperature. Some people will wait until the lower leaves of the plant start to droop slightly before watering.
As you gain experience and knowledge, you will alter your grow room and equipment to better fit your particular environment, growing techniques, and for the specific strains you choose, but hopefully this article will provide you with a solid foundation of knowledge to get started on the right foot. And remember, growing marijuana is a labor of love, so spend a lot of time with your plants and have fun!
Leafly is the world’s largest cannabis information resource, empowering people in legal cannabis markets to learn about the right products for their lifestyle and wellness needs. Our team of cannabis professionals collectively share years of experience in all corners of the market, from growing and retail, to science and medicine, to data and technology.
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How To: Weed Your Garden
Even late into the season, the summer can seem like one prolonged fight against garden weeds. The bad news? There’s no winning this war; you’ll be engaged on the front lines so long as you wish to maintain a manicured landscape. But with the right tools and proper techniques, you can keep the enemy contained.
Preventing weeds is the best way to limit their proliferation. The basic strategy here is to make your garden a less-than-hospitable location for unwanted plants. First and foremost, limit the amount of bare soil present in your garden, as empty patches of fertile soil are like oases for weeds. Instead, plant densely, use mulch, and consider taking advantage of the natural weed-suppressing power of ground covers or landscaping fabric, the latter being effective but artificial.
Even the best practices won’t stop every single weed from finding its way into your garden, but by employing some or all of the following methods, you can stand your ground against their ceaseless incursion.
1. Weed daily
Some gardeners weed only once a week, and surprising though it may be, even that frequency gives the roots of weeds sufficient time to grow deep and strong. A superior strategy is to weed a little every day. That way, you ensure the problem never gets out of hand. Bring along a kneeler and a shovel, a weed knife, or even an old fork to help you get to the roots. Don’t neglect walking rows (footpaths between plantings); if weeds get a stronghold there, they can easily spread.
Note: If you weed more frequently and vigorously in the first months of spring and summer, you’ll be doing yourself a favor for the rest of the growing season, as you’ll prevent weeds from going to seed and spreading farther afield.
2. Hoe regularly
Another way of uprooting weeds is to hoe regularly. Gardeners favor this approach, as it allows them to avoid the backbreaking work of pulling each weed manually. Be very careful not to hoe too deep, though: You might bring weed seeds to the surface, where they will enjoy access to the light and water essential for growth. Once a week, stir the soil at the base of plants to a depth of three inches maximum. Hoe only to one inch if you want to stay on the safe side.
3. Pull, don’t yank
Take care to remove the roots of a weed so that it doesn’t return. Yank out a weed too quickly and it might break, with the result that you pull out the top but not the all-important root system. For best results, pull very gently (if the soil is soft) or use a tool to dig it up (if the soil is hard). If digging, do so sparingly; you don’t want to disturb the roots of the plants you wish to keep.
4. Choose the right time
Don’t weed when the soil is soggy, but do weed when the soil is wet. It’s easier to pull the roots up out of damp soil. Save hoeing for days when the ground is dry.
Related: Zen and the Art of Weed Whacking
5. Get ’em out of there
Once you’ve pulled out a weed, don’t let it sit around on bare soil. Its seeds could find their way back into the ground. Let pulled weeds dry out and die in the sun, preferably on the sidewalk, then either throw them away or into a compost heap.
Note: Do not compost weeds that have gone to seed. That’s a recipe for getting more weeds when you ultimately return the compost to your garden.
6. Chop off their heads
If weeds have grown so big that you aren’t able to fully uproot them—or if they are so close to other plants that to remove the root of the weed would mean risking the roots of the plants you want to keep—then chop off the heads of the weeds. This will kill them slowly and prevent them from going to seed and spreading further. You may have to chop multiple times, but eventually they’ll die out.
7. What about herbicides?
Herbicides usually require many applications, as they (literally) fail to address the “root” of the problem. Be careful: They can be toxic to pets, children, and other plants. Use sparingly, or experiment with organic herbicides, such as vinegar or boiling water. In all cases, make sure you’re spraying or pouring herbicide only on weeds, not inadvertently killing other plants in the process.
How to Weed Your Garden
Weeds are one of a gardener’s worst enemies. They takeover your garden’s water supply with no shame, killing off your most beloved plants and flowers. Many gardeners think grabbing weeds and yanking them up is an effective way to get the job done—this can actually do more harm than just leaving them. By yanking leaves and not grabbing the roots, you are letting new growth start, therefore enabling the weeds to spread. To make your weeding even easier, do it when the soil is moist. Dry, hard soil is tougher for getting those roots out of the ground. Say goodbye to pesky weeds in your garden for good with our helpful weeding guide.
Identify weeds with our weed identification guide.
Low weeds can spread like crazy around your garden. Common short weeds you’ll find in your backyard include chickweed, plantain, purslane, wild violet, knotweed, henbit, and prostrate spurge. To control them, get your hand underneath the foliage and feel around for where the stems come out of the ground. Use a trowel to dig under the roots of the weed and pull up. Be sure to clean up any leaves when digging up, too—the leaves themselves can further spread weed growth.
Tall, longer weeds are a little more straightforward. Common tall weeds you’ll find in your garden include dayflower, velvetleaf, smartweed, pigwee, Canada thistle, and quickweed. Grab the stem as close to the ground as you can and pull up. Use a trowel to assist; dig as deep below the root as you can and lever the weed out of the ground. As with short weeds, do your best not to leave any weed debris around the garden, as this can cause weeds to still spread.
Taproot weeds are tricky: they have one large root that can extend as far as a foot beneath the soil’s surface. The most common taproot weeds you’ll find in your garden are dandelions. To get rid of these pesky weeds, you’ll definitely need a trowel or weeder. Sink your tool under the ground next to the base of the plant. Then, wiggle it toward the weed, which will help pop the roots out of the ground without breaking them.
At any given time I have at least one section of garden (vegetable, herb or flower) completely overtaken with weeds. Why? Because I have too many gardens and too much shit to do. But I never panic because I know how to get on top of it.
Years of being botanically overwhelmed have led to me a few special weeding techniques that make life easier. I’m all about sharing the wealth so today I’m passing that knowledge to you!
Disclaimer: I live smack dab in the center of New York state, in zone 5 where we get pretty regular rain. Keep that in mind when you read through my weeding tips. If you live in a dry climate this might not help as much but you should stick around anyway, especially if you enjoy some snarky garden chit-chat.
The Best Time to Weed Your Garden
Whenever you can. Got an extra 5 minutes while you’re waiting for the Instant Pot to release its pressure? Hop on out to the garden and get pulling.
I put my kids to bet around 7:30-8 every night and then I head out to the garden. You can get a lot done in an hour of dwindling light. Keep the bug spray handy or you’ll look like a cheetah and probably get West Nile.
The Easiest Time to Weed Your Garden
I’ve always found it easiest to weed my garden soon after it rains. The most efficient weeding gets rid of the whole plant root and all. And those roots are more likely to slip out of the ground if the soil isn’t hard as a rock.
My Great Aunt Artie told me to weed when it’s sunny. She was old school and had a tilled row garden (don’t worry, she’s still alive but not gardening that much these days). She would pull the weeds and toss them in the empty path where the sun would fry them.
I have raised beds due to terrible drainage and rocky backfill so I don’t have dirt paths to sacrifice my weeds on. But I still like to do my weeding on a sunny day.
When I’m wiping out colonies of small weeds with my cape cod weeder it only takes a little while to see what I missed. Usually by the time I get to the end of a bed the weeds I disrupted have wilted and you can clearly tell what still needs to be taken care of.
When you’ve got a lot of weeding to do it’s vital to start with the important stuff. And by that I don’t necessarily the big weeds. I actually find it easier to pull out some weeds when they’re bigger.
The first thing to remove is anything with a flower on it, or anything already going to seed. You absolutely don’t want to introduce more weeds into your garden!
Mustard is especially tough, I swear it pops up and goes to seed in a day and a half. If you’ve only got a few minutes to weed do your self a favor and get rid of everything with a flower on it.
If I’ve got an empty bed I just let the weeds grow. Freshly turned soil will look like a chia pet in no time while undisturbed soil is more likely to have a few larger weeds. Personally I’d rather pull a few big plantains out than 4×16 feet of nutsedge and smartweed.
Also, please wear gloves! I’ve been really good about it this year and that probably saved my left hand. For the first time in my life, I have poison ivy blisters.
Luckily they’re just on my wrist, if I wasn’t wearing gloves I’m sure my whole hand would be unusable. And then I’d be typing with my nose like a chicken. No one wants that.
Know Thy Enemy
When you’re weeding your garden it helps to know what kind of weeds you have, mostly the root system. You’ve probably got a handful of weeds that show up over and over right? Figuring out what they are and the best way to get rid of them will help you in the long run.
I have a ton of ironweed on my property. I don’t mind it so much because the bees love it. But I don’t want it in the asparagus bed or competing with my daylilies.
My favorite way to remove a large clump of ironweed is with my trusty cape cop weeder (I love that thing, probably not getting it tattooed on my butt). Grab the whole clump as close to the roots as possible with one hand and give it a wiggle.
Stab the weeder head under the roots and pull straight up with one hand on the plant clump and one hand on the weeder handle.
If it doesn’t come out you might need to stab in a few places. Eventually the whole roost system will slide out of the ground. Again, this is much easier if the ground is loose after some rain.
Another common nemesis is dock. Dock grows from a taproot, like a carrot. It’s pretty ugly and it doesn’t really look like anything else. This is one of those weeds that I ignore until it’s flowering, unless it’s right up in somethings business that it.
It’s a fairly vertical plant so the leaves don’t do much shading and I’ve found it’s much more likely to come out root and all when it’s had some time to get sturdy.
Again, grab that trust cape cod weeder. Instead of going under the root ball you want to slice down parallel to the root. Loosening up the soil and severing some of the root hairs. I usually do it on two sides.
Grab the plant at the base with both hands and pull straight up. Wear gloves for a good grip. Sometimes you’ll need to give it a really sharp yank.
Eventually the time will come when you’re faced with a legion of small weeds, usually something like Lamb’s Quarters. That’s when you take a hoe (or your cape cod weeder, seriously just get one already) and slice them off just below the soil.
You’re leaving behind the roots in this case but it’s ok, they’ll just wither away and die. I usually leave the little dead plants where they fall, in a few days there won’t be anything left.
Plan for Weeds in Your Planting
Intensive planting is great. You can maximize yields and get the most out of a small place. But weeding it sucks.
Rows are easy to weed quickly because all the plants are in a row and easy to avoid. Close grid spacing is a little trickier. Having a small tool that you can use precisely makes it a little more manageable.
But when you get into the staggered triangles… forget it. I’d rather sacrifice some harvest than my sanity.
One huge thing you can do to prevent weeds is mulching. It’s easier to mulch large plants like tomatoes and peppers. I mulch baby zucchini plants but when they take off you don’t need to bother.
I like to use straw if I can find it but I’ve used lawn clippings in the past. It’s a bit of a gamble, you might be introducing billions of weed seeds but it’s free.
Other than blocking weeds mulch keeps soil moist by slowing evaporation. You know what that means? Yup, weeds are easier to remove!
We’ve come full circle on garden weeding but if you’re aching for more garden knowledge you should check out my other gardening posts like why your garden is going to fail (and how to avoid it), what to grow in your garden and my can’t-live-without garden tools.
Check out my Gardening Page for more ideas and don’t forget to PIN this post to your garden board!
Ten Tips for Creating Beautiful Gardens
Do you want to create a beautiful garden? No matter how small your space, there are design principles you can apply to beautify your balcony, porch or yard.
Beautiful gardens appeal to our senses. The colours and immense diversity of design combinations, fragrance, flavours, sounds from birds and insects attracted to the plants and variety of textures.
Go for a drive around your neighbourhood and take notice of the gardens that catch your eye or next time you visit a friend’s garden, be observant and tune in to what you love about it. No doubt they will be applying some design principles and elements that apply whether they are used in art, graphics, building, interior or garden design.
“A garden is a thing of beauty and a job forever.” – Richard Briers
Simple concepts can make a HUGE difference to the enjoyment of your garden space and particularly so, when it is a micro garden. Designers use these principles all over the world to make spaces really stand out and visually beautiful. Less really can be more if you know how.
An elegant terracotta planter is used as a focal point with purple and white flower theme. Understated beauty and a simple garden feature.
10 Tips for Beautiful Gardens in Small Spaces
1. Add flowers or flowering plants
Splashes of colour break up green, provide variety, contrast and focal points. Try sowing both annuals and perennial flowers. e.g. cosmos, hydrangeas, sunflowers and marigolds.
Edible purple common chive flowers make a pretty splash of colour in any pot or garden bed
Beneficial insects will also be attracted to your garden and they will happily pollinate and clean up any pests for you. Flowers are a ‘win-win’ in any garden.
Pansies and perennials planted in a pot look beautiful when using repeated colours and textures
Flowers have an amazing ability to beautify any space – just pick your favourite colour theme.
“Flowers are the beautiful hieroglyphics of nature with which she indicates how much she loves us.” – Goethe
2. Control weeds
Remove weeds before they go to seed. Compost plants that compete with what you really want in your garden. Why waste money by sharing your plant food and nutrients with freeloaders? Adding an attractive and practical mulch will deter weeds from setting seed.
You can also use decorative mulches like white gravel or pebbles to unify pots while preventing weeds
3. Group plants around a theme
Create a collection of plants with the same foliage or flower colour for greater impact. Theming an area of your garden by clever use of colour is an easy trick to use. Stand back and take a look at the colours in your garden now. Could you move them around for better effect?
For example, putting a punnet of four or six of the same coloured flower in a container for mass planting has a greater effect than just adding one flower.
A repurposed blue bath tub planter with repeated flowers around a dwarf tree create an eye catching display
Surrounding these with another contrasting colour will ‘frame’ the picture.
This simple principle adds balance and uses another design trick – repetition.
Mass planted red geraniums in pots create a focal point up steps against a stone wall
You can also achieve this simple technique by planting along the edge of a garden bed with a border plant. Or highlight the shape and colour of the container with repeated plantings. White, silver or grey and blue work well when they are teamed up with most other colours.
Here red geranium teams up with cascading Dichondra Silver Falls and silver Cineraria in beautiful blue pots
4. Add some garden art
Garden art can be any ornament, collection, treasured find or something you make. When you add decorative items to your garden, it reflects your personality and adds character to your small space.
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Add a touch of whimsy with something simple like these bird ornaments on an outdoor table
Stand back and see what the space needs. Perhaps a pot could be jazzed up with a small ornament.
Do you have a bare wall that you need to hide? Are you renting and you can’t paint the external walls? If so, try hanging a bamboo blind as a backdrop to your plants. Or staple some fabric to a lightweight timber frame in a contrasting colour and then position your pots and furniture in front.
This is portable decorating and can really help you enjoy your outdoor space for very little cost. You can also use this concept indoors.
5. Use colourful pots or feature containers
Feature planters can help draw the eye to a focal plant or area. A planter with a splash of colour is a simple example of ‘less is more.’
This feature window box planter has a simple contrasting purple theme with flowers selected in a thriller spiller and filler design
Do you have a special pot that makes a statement? Or a heavy weight pot or one with a beautiful fruit tree or favourite plant in it? You can again use design techniques to make this element look more important.
By contrasting the size of the plants or pots you surround it with, you can create dominance with the pot you want to highlight as the key feature. Ensure the ones you put around it are smaller than the focal pot. This helps to create unity, as the eye focuses on the feature pot and then around the rest of the surrounding garden.
6. Use multi-functional edible herbs and flowers
Herbs provide fresh ingredients for the kitchen, have edible flowers, make attractive borders and pleasing aromas.
Choose herbs like curly leafed parsley, clumps of chives, mounds of lemon thyme and compact Greek basil with marigolds, violets and tatsoi. Not only do they provide variation in colour but add beauty, flavour and structure too.
Thyme, oregano and rosemary herbs in terracotta pots make attractive and edible garden features
“Herbs are the friend of the physician and the pride of cooks.” – Charlemagne
7. Create unity and diversity
Achieve a beautiful garden by repeating a colour provided by a variety of different plants.
Colour themes are a very effective design trick for adding beauty. Here are some ideas for combinations to get started:
Even purple and white ornamental kale can look beautiful planted in a heart shaped garden feature
- White, Grey & Blue – these colours go with everything: e.g. blue/green leeks; sages that have blue flowers (most of their flowers and leaves are edible); culinary sage; alyssum (white); cauliflower; and some cabbages.
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8. Choose a feature
For example, this may be a plant, statue, piece of garden art or even outdoor furniture. Whatever is special to you, highlight it by drawing the eye to it. Some ways you could do this are:
- Choose a focus plant such as a productive citrus tree in a pot by centring it on your balcony or verandah.
- As you come out the door it should catch your eye immediately. Use a pot or container that is a different colour to the others so it makes a statement. Under-plant around the base of the tree with some colourful annuals or groundcover. Position plants lower on either side of the pot so the eye goes to the tree first as the highest point.
- Outdoor art can take many forms and be made from a wide range of materials. From pieces that sit in pots, on tables or furniture to wall mounted frames and collections, these can be a talking point and focus, or help theme your outdoor room.
Flower pot men made out of terracotta pots and plants for ‘hair’ add a sense of fun. Get creative!
- Edible art – with a little imagination, pots and containers with a highly productive food garden can also be a feature to highlight. One combination that works well is using the principle of proportion by putting a taller plant such as spring onions in the centre of a round pot and surround it with lower growing salad vegetables and herbs.
- Select plants with different textures and colours, so you can come up with a striking combination. Diverse leaf colours, patterns and shapes can look beautiful together.
Plant vegetables and herbs with a variety of colours and textures
- Furniture – Are a table and chairs the focal point in your garden? Then add some colour to the table with a living arrangement. It can be a real drawcard for the eye. Choose fragrant flowers and herbs to engage the senses even further. Try herbs that you can use as a freshly picked garnish when eating outdoors like parsley, coriander and chives. They provide wonderful digestive enzymes too.
A cosy setting in a small quaint garden surrounded with pots
9. Beautiful gardens avoid clutter
This may be challenging if you have a really small space and want to grow a lot of plants! However, overcrowding will only make access difficult and the overall use of the space challenging. Try to balance hard surfaces with the plants you select and avoid using too many different materials.
Consider growing some plants indoors and spread them out to areas of the home where they suit the light conditions. Ferns for example love the humidity and lower light conditions in many bathrooms whereas outdoors they may take up too much valuable personal space that could be better used for other plants or furniture.
Use vertical spaces like walls, railings, containers and hanging baskets to free up floor space on a small deck or balcony.
Hanging flower planters on a lattice fence take advantage of vertical space and eye catching beauty
10. Choose Variegated Foliage
In some circumstances where you may have reduced sunlight, you may not have many options to grow flowering plants. You can still add colour and structure by choosing plants carefully.
Even edibles like variegated sage with white, green and purple leaves are a stunning variety
Another option is to include variegated foliage that typically have one colour on the inside and a second colour around the edge of the foliage. Some ornamental varieties are Cordylines, Dracaenas, Mandevilla, Rhoeo and Sanseveria. Many striking varieties can also be grown indoors to enhance indoor beauty and improve our air quality.
“Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas.” – Elizabeth Murray
How have you added beauty to your garden?
Feel free to share your tips on what you love about your garden or check out more inspirational design ideas, clever plant container ideas and themes for kids’ gardens.
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Table of Contents
Garden Weeds can take over fast
Unless you have unlimited time on your hands your garden will likely succumb to weeds on many occasions.
In a matter of days, they can take over, especially after a lot of rain. If you’re enjoying summer, you might end up going weeks without weeding. You’ll likely start to get discouraged by the daunting task of weeding plants that are strongly rooted.
You can either hire a gardener to do the job for you or learn how to clear weeds in a few simple steps.
Related Article: How to prevent aphids, can lead to large amounts of crop damaged in a short time!
Get rid of garden weeds naturally
When weeding your garden, you need to figure out if you have plants that need saving
Why is this important? Because if you have plants like tomatoes that are surrounded in a thicket of weeds you probably want (and can) save them so you still get harvests.
Other times the plants that you’re growing might be so surrounded by weeds to the point it’s almost impossible not to accidentally damage the crops or flowers.
Determining if you can remove the whole area or not.
- What you’d like to do with that area. Are you building raised beds? Trying to save the soil below?
- Are the weeds tall and have gone to seed? If they have there’s likely a lot of weed seeds underneath. They’ll keep germinating increasing the weeds in your garden bed.
- Are the weeds in the garden beds or in the pathways?
- Will gardening tools do the trick?
- Can you smother the weeds and build above?
- Do you have crops, plants or bushes growing that you need to keep alive?
- Do you have flat ground where tilling would work? Or do you have lots of uneven ground and rocks underneath?
This post will cover ways of removing weeds using hands, tools, blowtorches, tilling & animals
I don’t cover using chemicals to remove your weeds because I strongly disagree with using chemicals to ‘kill’ weeds. Adding chemicals into your backyard and especially vegetable garden is terrible for your soil and health.
If you really don’t want to deal with large areas of weeds, you could cover them in large thick black plastic weed barrier to block out the light.
When you need weeding by hand
If you have crops that you’d like to save, removing weeds by hand is necessary. Even though weeding by hand isn’t always enjoyable, truth is sometimes you have to as that’s the majority of good old-fashioned gardening work. It also depends on your finances.
Above you can see us hand-digging out grass squares to put in our new garden. It would have been much nicer to pay someone to dig it out with a tractor but it also adds to the cost.
Easier still would have been to place black landscape fabric and build a garden above the grass.
Below you can see the weeds in our greenhouse when we moved to our new acreage. They were over 5 feet tall but because they hadn’t been watered in months they pulled out easier than I thought they would.
Sometimes using your hands to pull out weeds then hoeing is the best option. We were going to let the chickens in there for a few months but it was heading into winter and we didn’t have our flock yet.
After allowing the weeds to germinate and pulling them up again I decided to mulch to reduce any further weeds from coming up.
Now let’s skip ahead because using your hands is the least enjoyable of these methods for large masses of weeds
Weeding using garden Tools
A good garden hoe is essential for removing weeds. Everyone has a preference in what feels right for a good hoe, I’ve met farmers who prefer the flat wide ones, some like the sharper ones.
My favorite is the diamond-shaped hoe, I love that I can hack down at the weed roots with the sharp diamond corners as well as get the smaller weed seedlings by reducing the width of surface area I’m hoeing down.
Now that we have flat land with long rows I’ll likely invest in a wheel hoe.
Single Wheeled Hoe (affiliate link)
What tools work for weeding really depends on the size and shape of your garden beds.
You can also get smaller hand-sized hoes for getting in-between smaller rows. The smaller ones work better in raised beds where you’re weeding close to your vegetables.
I also use a ‘dandelion remover’ tool which also works great with deep taproot weeds although burdock has proven too large. It’s also great for those prickly weeds you don’t want to go close!
Chickens are fantastic for scraping up the ground and weeding. You won’t be able to use them in your garden beds, but you could cover each bed using PVC pipes and chicken wire and let them free range everywhere else.
They are great to throw in the garden in the fall or off-season to clear everything up, we did that last year with our hens and they did an excellent job. I’ve really thought about chicken proofing beds that don’t need regular harvesting (like long season plants such as parsnips, carrots, onions, garlic, dried beans etc) then fencing off the rest of the garden for the chicken-free zone.
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this book on incorporating chickens into the garden. Here are some tips for free-ranging your chickens safely in your garden. You can also do what we did & build rotational chicken runs around your garden.
Vinegar or Hot Water:
I’ve yet to try the vinegar or hot water method. This option is supposed to kill the weeds without using herbicides or pesticides which only add harmful chemicals into your garden (& thus your body).
I’ve heard that it works great, although I do wonder about the acidity of the vinegar affecting soil ph. The hot water method is great if you have leftover canning bathwater.
For real!!!! The first time I volunteered at a local farm, they used a blow torch along with hoeing to keep weeds in control.
I was a little surprised, and haven’t tried this but be advised to use caution if using this method for weed control. It’s definitely tested and proven as farmer’s weed killer!
Obviously you can’t do this during peak summer or drought scenarios due to fire risk. Read more on how to use a blow torch for killing weeds here. You can see the red dragon torch here .
I’m going to be brief with this method and say you can till with either a gas-powered tiller or the old-fashioned kind (if you don’t have rocky terrain like ours) but I personally don’t recommend it.
You disrupt and kill most of the microorganisms so beneficial to your soil structure which is not good for long-term healthy soil. The till or no-till is a big heated debate among gardeners and farmers as it’s been the easiest way to clear large areas of land. (Read a debate here).
However if you have large areas it does the trick, especially if this is your first year gardening and you want to put in a garden quickly.
How to smother weeds and build something new
You can smother weeds out with plastic weed barrier or use cardboard to build on top of your weeds. This is great if you plan on building raised beds for example and have flat land.
We often use sheet mulching/lasagna gardening to smother and build on top
Smother the Weeds & Build Something New Methods
This is my favorite method with large areas of weeds, smother them and build something new.
In fact, I often look at corners of the garden that are full with many weeds and go ‘meh, I’m not going to bother weeding that area, I’ll just throw some cardboard down and build a new bed next season.
You can only do this if your weeds are shorter, if they are super tall this won’t work as well until the spring.
Here are some great permaculture methods
1. Sheet Mulching/Lasagna Gardening
Above you can see a garden bed we made with the Lasagna gardening method.
Sheet mulching, or lasagna gardening, involves layering cardboard, soil, straw, compost, manure, etc into layers until you have ‘built up’ and created a new bed.
This works especially great if you have a large area that is full of weeds and you don’t want to hand weed or hoe it all. Homestead Honey walks you through ‘Building Soil with Lasagna Gardening’
Images from Fix.com
Hugelkultur beds are old or rotten logs that are stacked upwards and can hold water and decompose slowly releasing nutrients into the soil. They are neat because you can plant on both sides because of the height.
For full details on Read more about Hugelkultur here & here.
This post wouldn’t be complete without some preventive measures, right?
I’ve become a huge fan of mulching garden paths to prevent weeds.
Every year that we use wood chips in our garden paths the weeds are significantly reduced, although I’ve found it only lasts a couple of years.
Other mulches are straw, newspapers, I often use cardboard in areas for short term weed reduction. I’ve tried different mulches, you can read my review of straw vs hay vs woodchips.
Wood chip mulch was all the craze after a lot of gardeners watched ‘Back to Eden’. We even mulched with wood chips ourselves as wood chips are far more available and cheaper than straw here.
There is a debate on using wood chips in your whole garden like the Back to Eden Method because of the potential to increase soil acidity levels. Read ‘5 things you should know about wood chip mulch’
General Weeding Advice
Weed Early & Often and Definitely Before Anything Goes to Seed
It goes without saying that if you weed often and before anything goes to seed your weed situation will be far better.
So long as they haven’t gone to seed, you can compost the green parts of any weed as the ‘green material’ in your compost.
Use the Weeds AS Mulch
I’ve started using weeds like grass, large burdock leaves or dandelion greens as mulches in-between rows. They’re FREE and add some nitrogen back into the soil.
Once again though, just make sure nothing has gone to seed and it’s not like grassroots which spread underneath and on top.
Study your Weed Cycles
It can help to observe different types of weeds and their life cycle in the garden.
You’ll likely notice that weeds are easier to remove in certain ‘target window’ times.
The grass is always easier dugout in the spring than the fall. Burdock is a challenge as it has a two-year cycle. Even though you always want to remove weeds before they go to seed, some plants, like burdock, actually get stronger if you try and remove them too early (kudos to mother nature!).
I’ve found that if I cut them down right before it sets seed not too early in the season, I can pull up the root the following spring much easier.
The more you know about your weeds the better you can battle them.
The idea behind cover crops is that not only are you suppressing weeds from growing in between growing seasons but you’re also adding nutrients back into the soil. Above you can see a mustard green cover crop, which you can eat too!
For a guide to how to grow cover crops check out this article from West Coast Seeds. Next year I really want to try growing Buckwheat after reading ‘9 Reasons Buckwheat belongs in your Garden’ from Attainable Sustainable.
Select your weed battles based on edibility.
You’d be AMAZED at how many weeds are not only edible but also super nutritious (Read ‘Weeds are Good For You!’ by This Organic Life). Dehydrated wild nettle (which is super high in iron, calcium, minerals etc) at our local health food store, for example, is $7.99/100g!!
I’ve learned to leave large patches of it in the garden, sort of like a healthy perennial patch until I can build new beds. I also leave plantain, dandelions (in most places), chicory and lambs quarters. You can make a green super powder with weeds as Joybilee Farm does!
You can then use the oil to make ‘Dandelion Salve’ like the Montana Homesteader did or Dandelion Lotion Bars like the Nerdy Farm Wife. You can even make Wild Nettle Beer or Dandelion Wine. Check out some burdock recipes here.
Although there are beneficial weeds, be careful to not let them take over as if they go to seed this will happen quickly.
If you have a large area that needs clearing
Options for removing large areas of weeds are
- Tilling or tractor if you have flat land
- Covering with landscape fabric and building upwards (if flat)
- Excavate/use a tractor if you have rocks in the ground
- Chickens, goats or pigs*
*Make sure none of the weeds are poisonous to livestock. You don’t want to cause liver toxicity and death rapidly in livestock.
Dealing with weeds is an inevitable part of gardening. Trying to figure out how to clear weeds is actually learned spontaneously as you grow your garden.
Over time you’ll learn the best ways to prevent or get rid of weeds in your location.
My name is Isis Loran, creator of the Family Food Garden. I’ve been gardening for over 10 years now and push the limits of our zone 5 climates. I love growing heirlooms & experimenting with hundreds of varieties, season extending, crunchy homesteading and permaculture.
Weed-free Gardening: Learn How to Prevent Weeds from Growing Before They Start!
By Jane Milliman
When’s the best time to pull a weed? Yesterday. When’s the second best time? Now.
It’s an old joke, but there’s actually a lot of truth to it – the earlier you eliminate a weed, the less of a chance there is for it to multiply and take over the entire garden.
A weed is simply a plant growing where it’s not wanted. After all, one person’s wildflower is another person’s weed.
There are your usual suspects, those names that come to mind instantly when talking about weeds: dandelions, thistles, crabgrass and chickweed. But just what makes these – and others – such effective nuisances?
Weeds are naturally gifted with characteristics that let them spread easily. These characteristics include:
- Generous seed production
- Rapid germination and establishment
- Seeds that remain dormant for long periods of time
- Ability to occupy areas of high traffic
Weeds compete with grass and garden plants for space, light, water and soil nutrients. Not only do they look bad and have the ability to take over quickly, they’re also the perfect hosts for disease and insects. Before you know it, one weed can turn into many little thieves robbing your plants of their health.
How to Prevent Weeds
The best way to prevent weeds from spreading throughout your garden is to stop them before they take root. Knowing how to prevent weeds means understanding the task is not a one-time job, but rather a continual garden chore. But even those who pull weeds begrudgingly do so knowing that preventing weeds as they appear, or quickly after they’ve sprouted, takes a lot less time than removing an established weed infestation. Consider taking the following steps for a weed free gardening experience.
- Cultivate with Caution
- Apply a Pre-emergent
- Mulch Your Beds
- Grow Plants Closely
- Eliminate Hitchhikers
- Get to Pulling
- Create a Drought
- Plant a Cover
You can’t avoid tilling or hand cultivating when creating a new garden bed. It’s the best way to aerate the soil and incorporate organic material. What you don’t see is the buried weed seeds lying dormant just under the surface of the soil. Moving them to the top of the soil wakes them up and boosts them into germination. Once you’ve established a new garden bed, avoid unnecessary tilling and cultivating unless absolutely necessary.
If you’re looking for how to stop weeds from growing in the first place, consider a chemical option. Pre-emergent herbicides stop weed seeds from germinating. They’re tailored to target specific combinations of weeds or weed families. Simply apply the pre-emergent to your garden before the weed seeds begin to germinate – in early spring or after cultivating. Pre-emergent is activated by water, so after treating the area, be sure to give it a good soak with set on the garden setting. The water application draws the herbicide down to the seed level for the best results.
An effective and natural option to prevent weeds from taking over your garden is through the use of mulch. Apply a thick layer of organic mulch approximately 2 inches deep in the garden area – take care to avoid the base of individual plants and shrubs. Not only will mulch help the soil retain moisture, it also smothers out any small weeds and creates an unfriendly environment for tilled up weed seeds. While non-organic mulches (such as landscaping fabric and plastic) last much longer than organic mulches (like pine needles, cedar and leaves), they don’t break down to create a healthy soil environment.
Weeds just love the open, sunny spaces between garden plants. Plant vegetables, flowers and shrubs at the closest recommended spacing. Consider using block spacing instead of growing in rows to eliminate the open areas weeds tend to pop up in.
Young plants from the local nursery can introduce new weeds to your garden. Weed seeds are great at spreading, even in a nursery environment. Inspect all new transplants closely to ensure they aren’t bringing in any undesirable friends. If you spot seeds or sprouts, simply pull them out before transplanting into your garden.
It can seem endless, but consistently weeding your garden will pay off. For every weed remove before it goes to seed, you effectively eliminate hundreds of its offspring. Commit to a weeding schedule and stick to it. The perfect time for weeding is while the soil is moist and plants are young. Gently pull weeds at their base (disturbing as little soil as possible) and discard away from the garden. If you encounter difficult roots, insert a sharp knife or Cape Cod weeder into the ground to sever the weed from its roots without disturbing the ground or mulch around it.
If you water the entire garden, open spaces will become the perfect breeding ground for weeds. Deprive weeds of water by using a soaker hose to add moisture just where it’s needed – at the base of garden plants. By only watering these areas, you narrow down where weeds may pop up.
Many vegetable gardens lie dormant during winter months. Some annual weeds actually pop up during cool weather, like chickweed and deadnettle. You may be asking yourself how to prevent weeds from growing in gardens without any plants or mulch. Keep these weeds from germinating and taking over your yard by planting a little bit of competition. Cool season cover crops, like ryegrass or clover, create a barrier for weeds by competing for light, water and nutrients. Simply till them under in early spring to introduce organic material and nutrients into the soil.
When creating the perfect environment for your lawn and garden, you’re unfortunately crafting the ideal location for weeds to thrive. But knowing how to prevent weeds in garden areas is actually pretty simple when following these steps. Take the time now to prevent weeds from taking root and save yourself hours of weeding in the future!
Weed Gardens For Wildlife: Creating A Weed Garden Bed
For those of us with slightly neurotic tendencies, the thought of actually encouraging weeds to grow sounds crazy. However, the idea isn’t as nuts as it sounds and can provide you with some interesting herbs and greens, fodder and cover for animals, and allows you to really go “green” without any herbicide use in your landscape. A few weed garden tips will set you on your way. Let your hair down and create a weed garden bed that will attract butterflies and pollinators while lessening your garden chores.
Weed Garden Tips
The key to a successful weed garden bed is in your choice of plants. There are many wild plants with weed-like tendencies that are valuable food sources for animals, birds and butterflies. If you change the name to a wildlife garden, creating a weed garden is much more palatable.
Weeds are hardy souls that thrive without water, in poor soil, grow fast and need no supplemental care. Some good options that will also make a pretty display are:
- Queen Anne’s lace
- Yellow dock
- Stinging nettle
Edible choices could include:
How to Make a Weed Garden
Every spring I do battle with the weeds on the parking strip. It is almost inconceivable to me that I could just simply choose to leave them there. There are a few more things to know about how to make a weed garden. For instance, you should consider the fact that they spread.
Some bordering between the weeds and clean weed-free zones needs to be established. Deeply rooted weeds should be planted on a bed of rocks dug deeply into soil. Any type of physical barrier is helpful to prevent the spread of the plants but so is deadheading. If you remove the flower heads before they produce seed, you can keep weed gardens for wildlife confined to just one dedicated region of the landscape.
Creating a weed garden in an open field is ideal because you can select beneficial and edible plants that will mix with the wild flora that already exists.
Sowing Weed Gardens for Wildlife
One of the most economical weed garden tips is to collect seeds from nature. Once the dandelions go to seed and begin to fluff, capture some in a baggie for your space. Stroll through a pasture or even a roadside and harvest seed heads from summer through fall.
Rake the soil and add any amendments you feel are necessary. Then mist it and sow the seeds you have collected covered by a light dusting of soil to hold them down. Remember that some of the plants you choose are perennials, so you will really have to commit to their existence unless you dig them out. Others will perennially reseed themselves for constant renewable plants.
It is up to you if you wish to water regularly or even fertilize. You will have bigger plants but as a rule, weeds don’t need any attention. That is one of the beauties of the weed garden bed.