Weeds in a garden

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Tips For Controlling Weeds In A Vegetable Garden

Controlling weeds in a vegetable garden is important to the health of your plants. Weeds are huge competitors for resources and can crown out seedlings. Their tenacious nature and ability to seed fast makes it quite a chore to stop weeds in a vegetable garden. Herbicides are an obvious solution, but you need to be careful what you use around edibles. Manual control is effective but is a labor intensive method to keep weeds out of a vegetable garden. A combination of approaches and good initial site preparation are key to vegetable weed control.

Controlling Weeds in a Vegetable Garden

Weeds not only compete for water, nutrients and growing space but provide a haven and hiding place for disease and pests. Vegetable weed control early in the season can help prevent these issues and slow the spread of the nuisance plants.

Cultural controls are safe and effective methods of weed control. These may include synthetic or organic mulches, weeding or hoeing and cover crops. Cover crops fill in the proposed vegetable garden to prevent weeds from getting a hold and also add nutrients to the soil when they are tilled in spring.

We are often asked, “What is the best way to weed my vegetable garden?” Depending on the size of your vegetable bed, it is often best to hoe in weeds as long as they haven’t gone to seed. Hand weed the ones that have seed heads or you will just be planting them when you hoe. Weeds are like any other vegetation and will compost into the soil adding nutrients. Hoeing is easy on the knees and less time consuming than hand weeding an entire bed. Keep weeds out of a vegetable garden by hoeing weekly before the plants have time to get big and cause a problem.

Another option is to lay a plastic or thick layer of organic mulch between the rows of vegetables. This will prevent weed seed from taking hold. Another option is a pre-emergent spray to keep weeds out of a vegetable garden, such as Trifluralin. It will not control existing weeds but can be used before planting to prevent new ones from emerging.

A spray of glyphosate one week before planting will also stop weeds in a vegetable garden. Most herbicides that are listed for use around edibles require one day to two weeks before it is safe to harvest. Consult the label carefully.

Considerations in Weed Control

It is also wise to check the label of an herbicide to see if it is safe to use around a particular vegetable. For instance, Trifluran cannot be used around cucumbers, garlic, lettuce, onions, squashes or melons. Removing weeds from the vegetable garden also requires care in chemical application.

Drift is a problem that occurs during wind days when the chemical floats over to non-target plants. If you are using black plastic and use an herbicide, you must take care to rinse it completely before planting through the plastic. All instructions and cautions should be followed on any chemical application.

How to Get Rid of Weeds Strategy 1: The best weed killer for lawns is prevention

The best weed killer is prevention! Each type of grass has an ideal cutting height for good health and strong growth. When cut no lower than that height, and when cut before it gets too long, the grass will usually out-compete lawn weeds as long as it’s also fertilized and watered properly. Longer grass helps prevent weeds in a couple of different ways. The taller growth shades the ground, keeping it cooler and retarding lawn weed seed germination. And once lawn weed seeds sprout, they don’t have as much sunlight as they need for hardy growth.

Learn how to mow at the right height in this video:

The chart below shows the range of cutting heights depending on the grass type. If you don’t know your grass type, take a plug of turf to a garden center and ask the staff to help with the identification.

For a lush lawn, you need the right fertilizer. Learn the pros and cons of liquid lawn fertilizer here.

It’s also important to mow your grass when it needs it. That’s when the grass is one-third above the ideal cutting height. Depending on the weather conditions and the time of year, that can mean mowing every week or two, or every four or five days. Keeping the height in check also means you’re clipping off weed seed heads before they can mature and seed your lawn.

Learn about the best weed killer for flower beds.

Watch this video for more expert tips on how to get rid of weeds in your lawn:

The Best Weed Killer for Lawns: Full, Healthy Grass

Ideal Mowing Height Ranges

Warm Climate Grasses
Bahia grass – 2 to 3 in.
Bermuda grass – 1/2 to 1 in.
Blue grama grass – 2 to 3 in.
Buffalo grass – 2 to 3 in.
Carpetgrass – 1 to 2 in.
Centipedegrass – 1 to 2 in.
St. Augustinegrass – 1 to 3 in.
Zoysia grass – 1/2 to 1 in.

Family Handyman

How to Get Rid of Weeds Strategy 2: To find the best weed killer for lawns, you need to know what you’re dealing with

Family HandymanPhoto 1: Broadleaf weeds

Broadleaf weeds include any weed that has leaves, such as dandelions, clover and creeping Charlie (ground ivy).

Photo 2: Perennial grassy weeds

Perennial grassy weeds like quack grass go dormant through the winter along with your grass only to reemerge in the spring. They spread through the roots and seeds.

Family HandymanPhoto 3: Annual grassy weeds

Annual grassy weeds like crab grass reseed themselves near the end of the growing season and then die. The seeds germinate the following spring to grow new plants.

To find the best weed killer, you need to know what you’re dealing with. Before you start any lawn weed control program, you need to determine which of the three types of weeds you’re controlling. Each requires unique products and application methods. Some treatments are very time sensitive, while others can be done anytime during the growing season. Plus: Learn how to get rid of weeds in flower beds here.

How to Get Rid of Weeds Strategy 3: Control broadleaf lawn weeds with the least amount of herbicide possible

Photo 1: Spot-kill lawn weeds with a small pressure sprayer

Instead, the best weed killer for lawns in this particular situation is to spot-treat the weeds with a small, trigger-controlled, pump-up pressure sprayer. Find the best weed killer spray among the top 40 lawn care products you need.

Photo 1A: Close-up of small pressure sprayer

Add herbicide and water and pump to pressurize the grass weeds killer.

Photo 2: Treat weed patches

A tank sprayer weeds killer best handles clumps of weeds.

Photo 2A: Close-up of tank sprayer

Add herbicide weeds killer and water and pump to pressurize.

Photo 3: Use a dial sprayer when lawn weeds are out of control

A dial sprayer connected to a garden hose kills weeds over a wide area.

Photo 3A: Close-up of dial sprayer

Add herbicide, set the dial to the desired concentration and turn on the garden hose.

The key to controlling broadleaf weeds is to use a broadleaf weed killer herbicide (see “Getting the Most from Broadleaf Weed Killer,” below) and distribute it with the smallest applicator necessary to do the job. That’ll not only save time and money but also keep you from needlessly introducing chemicals into the environment.

Spot-kill weeds with a small pressure sprayer
No matter how lush and healthy your lawn is, a few isolated weeds will pop up. That doesn’t call for whole-yard treatment. Instead, the best weed killer for this situation is to spot-treat the weeds with a small, trigger- controlled, pump-up pressure sprayer (Photo 1). After pouring in the diluted herbicide, you pump up the pressure with a little plunger and then pull the trigger to release the spray right on the culprits.

Treat weed patches with a 1- or 2-gallon tank sprayer
Patches or clumps of weeds are best treated with a standard 1- or 2-gallon tank sprayer (Photo 2). After spraying, triple-rinse the tank with water. With each rinse, pump up some pressure and flush out the wand,
too.

Use a dial sprayer when lawn weeds are out of control
If your whole lawn is filled with weeds, it calls for draconian measures, and a dial sprayer attached to your garden hose is the best weed killer for this situation (Photo 3). It’s fast and efficient. It’s just a matter of adding concentrated broadleaf killer to the pot, and setting the dial at the top to the mixture called for on the herbicide container—for example, 2-1/2 tablespoons per gallon of water. Then hook up the garden hose and apply an even treatment to the weedy areas. Clear the yard of toys, furniture and anything else that can get contaminated by overspray. And be sure to protect your flowers and bushes with plastic sheeting or cardboard. Remember that broadleaf killers will kill or harm anything with leaves—including your flowerbed.

Travis Larson, an editor for The Family Handyman, will show you how to apply concentrated broadleaf herbicide to kill weeds in your yard in our video tutorial.

How to Get Rid of Weeds Strategy 4: Kill perennial grassy weeds one by one

Use a non-selective plant killer

Individually coat weeds with a glove dipped in herbicide solution. Note the protective rubber glove under the cloth glove.

Quack grass is the widest spread example of a perennial grass that comes back year after year just like your lawn. They spread through seeds and extensive underground root systems and are unaffected by broadleaf killers. Pulling grassy weeds only gets some of the roots, and the remaining ones will quickly sprout new plants. The only effective solution is to use a “nonselective” plant killer like Super Kills-All or Roundup. You can apply non-selective killers with sprayers, but you’ll kill everything in the area, including your lawn and any other nearby plants. The best way to kill these weeds while protecting surrounding plants is by wiping the grass blades with the non-selective herbicide. Wear a cheap cloth glove over a plastic or rubber chemically resistant (they’re labeled as such) glove to protect your skin. Dip your gloved hand into the herbicide and then simply grab the blades near the base and pull the herbicide over the grass blades. Don’t worry about coating every single blade. The chemical will absorb into the plant, make its way down to the roots and kill the entire plant. Most will die in a few days, but survivors may need more treatments.

How to Get Rid of Weeds Strategy 5: Control crab grass with a ‘crab grass preventer’ in the spring

Photo 1: Spreading crab grass preventer

Spread a pre-emergence preventer in the spring to keep seeds from germinating.

Photo 2: Crabgrass preventer

Preventers usually come as granules that you put on the lawn with a spreader.

Photo 3: Post-emergence killer

Post-emergence killers may require several applications to work effectively.

Crab grass is the best example of an annual weedy grass. It doesn’t over-winter like perennial weeds. Instead, it dies at the end of the growing season and depends on producing thousands of seeds to propagate new clumps in the spring.

The best weed killer to keep crab grass under control is to apply a crab grass preventer between the first and third mowings in the spring. Timing is everything. The treatment prevents the seeds from germinating. If you wait too long, the seeds will sprout. Apply too early and the preventer will dissipate and late germinating seeds
will sprout.

Make notes in the fall about where your crab grass seems to thrive. That, of course, is where the seeds are concentrated, so you don’t need to treat the whole lawn, just the areas that are infested. Crab grass loves areas where the ground warms quickest, especially near driveways or sidewalks where the asphalt or concrete helps warm the soil. That’s the profile of most other annual grassy weeds too. They’re treated much the same way as crab grass, but read the directions on preventer bags to find one that’ll be effective for the annual weeds you want to eliminate.

Once crab grass shows up in your lawn, you have three options:

  1. Hand-pull the clumps to prevent the plant from reseeding itself. If that leaves bare spots in your lawn, rough up the ground and reseed the patch. Keep it moist and let the grass grow. The grass will grow faster than the underlying crab grass seeds and may become lush enough to shade and prevent them from sprouting next spring.
  2. Let the crab grass go until the following spring and then use a preventer at the right time. Crab grass dies completely in late fall.
  3. Treat clumps with a post-emergence crab grass killer. These treatments are specially formulated to not harm your lawn grass. They’re most effective on younger plants and may take two or more treatments in four- to seven-day intervals to completely kill the crab grass. Once seed heads form in the late summer or fall, post-emergence killers won’t work and you’re better off waiting until spring and then treating the seeds with preventer or hand pulling.

How to Get Rid of Weeds Strategy 6: Don’t fight lawn weeds where grass won’t grow

Try mulch, not grass

Mulch and planting beds are often better for shady areas and around trees where grass won’t grow well.

Poor light or soil conditions can make it all but impossible to grow grass in some areas. If you’ve tried more than once to nurture grass in an area and failed, it might be time to throw in the towel and treat the area with a landscaping alternative. The obvious choices are stone, mulch and attractive ground cover plants that tolerate the same conditions grass can’t handle. Get rid of weeds with a nonselective herbicide (re-treat survivors after 10 days). The herbicide will break down within two weeks and the ground will be safe for new plants. If you’re covering the ground with a decorative material like stone or mulch, consider laying a lawn weed control fabric on the ground first to keep weeds from getting another foothold.

Getting the Most from Broadleaf Weed Killers

Broadleaf weed killer herbicides are extremely effective, provided they’re used according to the directions on the container. Pay particular attention to the moisture, temperature and wind limitations. Most liquid herbicides only work in temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees F. At higher temperatures, the chemicals vaporize before the weeds can absorb them. And at lower temperatures, the weeds aren’t growing fast enough to absorb the chemicals. Here are some general guidelines to help you get the most from the products:

  • Buy concentrated formulas. They’re far cheaper than premixed types.
  • Mix only what you need, and use it within three days of mixing. Once mixed with water, herbicides lose their effectiveness in a very short time.
  • Store herbicides in a cool place and protect them from freezing. They’ll stay effective for a long time.
  • Protect decorative plants with plastic or cardboard during lawn weed control treatments. Even just a little overspray can damage or kill your plants.
  • Some lawn grasses, especially “warm weather” ones found in the Sun Belt, can be harmed or even killed by broadleaf herbicides. Be sure to read the label to find out which grass types are vulnerable.
  • Apply when grass is slightly damp or dry, and avoid applying during hot weather or high humidity conditions. For best results, apply in the morning or early evening.
  • Some formulas call for application when there’s no rain in the forecast for 24 to 48 hours.
  • Wear socks, shoes, long pants, a long-sleeve shirt, gloves and glasses to keep the liquid off your skin and out of your eyes.
  • Keep pets and kids off grass for 48 hours after application, then water the area well to rinse, and let it dry.
  • To keep safe, read the label for special warnings about toxicity.

Required Tools for this Lawn Weed Control Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY lawn weeds prevention project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Safety glasses

You’ll need a tank sprayer, dial sprayer, small pressure sprayer, fertilizer spreader, rubber gloves, cloth gloves, adjustable height lawn mower.

Required Materials for this Weed Control Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Broadleaf herbicide
  • Crab grass preventer
  • Non-selective plant herbicide
  • Post-emergence crab grass killer

Concerns over applying weed killers near harvest time may prompt the question, “Can I use weed killer in my vegetable garden in the fall?” Several weed killers may be safe to apply in the fall. Always read the package directions for any weed killers, pesticides, or weed control products you purchase at the garden center, and follow them to the letter.

Can I Use Weed Killer in My Vegetable Garden in the Fall

You can use weed killer in the vegetable garden in the fall, but you must choose the appropriate weed killer. Before purchasing and using weed killer, consider your reasons for using it in the vegetable garden. Remember that anything you put onto the plants or into the soil will eventually end up in the vegetables you harvest. Are you sure you want to add chemicals to the vegetable garden? Pulling weeds by hand remains the safest option for weeding the vegetable garden.

Weed Control Methods and Products

There are several conventional and organic weed control products suitable for vegetable gardens that may be applied in the fall.

  • Preen: Preen weed killer acts on weed seedlings, killing them as they emerge. If fall marks the time of year when you’re harvesting rather than planting, Preen may be a useful weed killer. Because your vegetable plants are mature they won’t be affected by Preen’s weed killing ingredients. The label directions state that it may be used year-round. Organic Preen contains ingredients safe to use in the vegetable garden, but be sure to choose this product instead of the generic Preen products to ensure safety around edibles. Remove all mature weeds before using Preen. It won’t kill existing weeds, but it will prevent new ones from taking over the vegetable garden.
  • Glyphosate: Glyphosate is the active ingredient in weed killers such as Round Up, Kleenup and Weed Away as well as many other commercial brands of conventional weed killers. This chemical kills the leaves and roots of mature weeds. It doesn’t stay in the soil, so if you apply it in the fall to the weeds, by next spring when you are ready to plant your vegetable garden it will not harm newly planted or emerging vegetable seedlings. Use this weed killer only if you’ve harvested all your vegetables for the season, since any liquid that gets onto the leaves of your vegetable plants may kill them, too, along with the weeds.

Other Methods of Weed Control

There are several other methods of weed control for fall vegetable gardens that offer organic, non-chemical methods of suppressing or killing weeds.

Newspaper Layers

Newspaper blocks sunlight, and if you pile shredded leaves and grass clippings on top, it actually decomposes into a rich compost that adds nutrients to the vegetable garden. Don’t worry about the ink on newspaper; most newspapers are printed with soy ink, which has a vegetable base and is safe for composting. Just don’t use glossy newsprint such as coupons, advertisements or magazines. In the fall garden, it may be helpful to harvest all your vegetables first, then use the newspaper method to kill weeds and prevent them from coming up next spring.

To use newspaper for weed control, spread a layer of newspaper about six sheets thick over the area where you want to suppress weeds. Layer on top grass clippings or fall leaves. Add another layer of newspaper several sheets thick. Moisten it with water. The newspaper blocks sunlight and kills weeds while prevent seeds from taking root. Next spring, simply cut a hole with your trowel through the newspaper and plant your vegetables. As the newspaper, grass and leaves break down, they will add rich organic compost to the soil.

Solar Sterilizing

Solar sterilizing is another safe method of weed control. This method works best if you start it in the hottest part of the year, usually the late summer months of July and August or year round in the deep south. It’s useful to sterilize the soil before planting your fall vegetables or vegetables you hope to over-winter. Clear the area of the garden by hand pulling noticeable weeds. Take sheets of heavy plastic, place them over the area, and anchor them by piling soil over the edges or rocks. Dark plastic or weed suppressing landscape fabric works best but you can use clear plastic. The sun’s rays literally cook the ground underneath, raising the temperatures so high, they sterilize the soil.

For more help with your fall weed control methods for the vegetable garden, talk to your local County Cooperative Extension agent. Before applying anything to the garden, be sure you’re comfortable using chemicals near vegetables. “Can I use weed killer in my vegetable garden in the fall?” is a question that can be answered with a firm “Yes,” but it’s important to consider all the benefits and drawbacks before spreading any kind of weed killer.

Keeping Weeds Away: How to Prevent Weeds From Returning

Pesky as they can be, weeds are a natural part of our gardening world, and they aren’t going anywhere, which makes it all the more frustrating when they creep up in our otherwise perfect flowerbeds again and again. The truth is, maintaining healthy, beautiful plants is a constant job often filled with the hard work of fighting weeds, but after hearing these tips and tricks, you’ll be a pro at managing your garden properly to keep weeds from coming back.

What You Should Know Before Treating Weeds

Before you can get rid of all your weeds, you first have to understand them. Yes, that’s right—the “know your enemy” cliché—but this tip is a powerful tool. Any person who gardens must come to terms with the fact that weeds are just like any other plant that grows under the sun. This means they can thrive under your watch just like the plants in your garden if you let them.

And just like any other plant, you can learn about them to help figure out useful things. The presence of weeds can often tell gardeners facts about their plants or soil if they pay enough attention. If you spot dandelions in your flowerbeds, for instance, it means the soil underneath is in need of aeration, and you could potentially leave them to help your soil flourish rather than picking them out right away, or you can pick off the flowers as they grow so the seeds don’t have the chance to spread around. So don’t be opposed to getting to know your enemies—in this case, there’s always a lot to learn. Once you’ve become more knowledgeable, then you can proceed to get rid of the weeds properly.

What Types of Weed Removal To Try

Hand pulling. This first method is the most common, as it’s easy enough for children to learn how to do: Grab it firmly by the root, and pull gently, but there are best and worst times to do it. There’s an old saying that goes, “Pull when wet, hoe when dry”, and it works wonders for weed control. The best time to hand-pull weeds is right after a good rain. The weed will be less likely to snap off and keep its stubborn roots in your garden and is more likely to come out intact while wet.

Use a two-in-one fertilizer. Kill two birds with one stone by using a weed-control fertilizer for your plants that guarantees to fight off the common weeds while feeding your lawn or garden. Though this may not kill off all the weeds, it is a good way to lay down the groundwork (literally) for your weeding routine.

DIY weed killers. This method is certainly the most creative, and you won’t even have to run to the store to start. Simple household items like bleach, baking soda, vinegar, or boiling water work great to get rid of weeds like the ones that grow in the cracks of your walkway.

How to Prevent Weeds and Future Tips

Do what you do best. Show your plants love by tending to them properly. Using fertilizer, regularly watering, and caring for your plants should always be the priority as opposed to fighting weeds first, as it promotes a healthy garden that can better fight off weeds.

Keep taller grass. For lawns, mowing higher than normal may seem strange at first, but it will keep your grass thick and tall enough that weed seeds would be less likely to reach your soil where they could sprout and continue to spread.

Keep your plants well-watered. Thirsty soil helps weeds thrive, as most tend to grow in dry areas. Watering your plants properly helps to strengthen your plants’ roots, and keep the soil moist enough that weeds won’t come back.

Pay attention to how you plant. The closer your plants are grouped together, the less room the weeds will have to grow. Again, any room you give them for sunlight to hit the soil is an opportunity you’re giving the seeds to flourish, just like your plants. Having a tightly-packed garden will do a great job of crowding them out.

Don’t disturb your soil. Weed seeds “sleep” and stay dormant the deeper they are in your soil, as they don’t have any light to germinate, the way the top two inches of your soil do. So try to keep your digging to a minimum.

Weed often to keep them at bay. It’s also best to become familiar with your garden, such as knowing when you need to water again to keep weeds out by the look of your plants, and treating the first signs you see as they come so you can really keep the weeds from coming back.

Resources— Fine Gardening, Inhabitat, This Old House

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About The Author

I’m a creative writer born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I dabble in fiction and poetry as well as product reviews, where I enjoy seeking out the cream of the crop to help make my life (and anyone else’s) a bit easier, and a lot more enjoyable. It’s safe to say that the rest of my time is spent burning one too many scented candles.

More About Thalia Geiger

Eliminate Weeds. The enemy of gardeners the world around! They are responsible for choking the life from vegetable and flower gardens, while stealing life-giving nutrients away from our plants.

Weeds are also the reason many gardeners throw their hands up by mid-summer and call it a year.

It simply doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, some of the most time-consuming chores we have been led to believe help with gardening and weeds – are actually the main culprit to creating more!

Simply by eliminating those weed promoting practices, and replacing with a few time and labor saving methods – you can all but eliminate the issue of weeds in your garden.

Keeping your garden neat and free of weeds also helps keep the nutrients going to your veggie plants!

We spend no more than 10 minutes a day handling all of the chores in our garden to eliminate weeds and that’s not a misprint!

The first step is realizing that eliminating weeds in a garden is a process and not a one time thing. But don’t let that scare you – the process is simple and leads to a productive and beautiful garden in a fraction of the time.

Here are six ways to eliminate weeds from your garden and to help keep the fun in gardening.

TIP 1: Eliminate Bare Soil From Your Garden And Beds

Bare soil is an invitation for weeds and weed seeds to find a home

Bare soil is at the root of most weed problems. Bare soil is an open invitation for blowing weed seeds to become established.

By using mulches and protecting the soil, you can cut the potential for future weeds dramatically!

We use a combination of mulches in our garden space to keep it covered. Straw and shredded leaf mulch in the walking rows, and a 2 to 3 inch mulching of compost right around our plants.

Just remember – open space is an open invitation for weeds and soil erosion

TIP 2: Resist the Urge to Dig and Till Your Soil:

This is the biggest time-saving AND weed saving tip we can give.

Stop tilling the garden! In the time it takes a person to till between the rows of a garden the same size as ours, we have finished our 10 minute gardening work day, grilled out for dinner and are sitting on the patio enjoying a cool beverage!

And while working that extra time tilling – that person also just replanted tens of thousands of weed seeds that will germinate in the coming weeks.

Tilling simply takes all of the weed seeds that are laying on the surface, where they may never germinate, and plants them into the soil.

Tilling over time also can destroy your soil’s structure, but when it comes to weeds – it’s a prime reason gardeners have to spend so much time trying to eliminate them. It takes time, gas, and is a never-ending chore.

Instead – heavily mulch your rows with grass clippings, straw, or shredded leaves – they keep weeds to a minimum and help add vital nutrients to the soil as they break down.

We believe in this one so much we actually have an entire post dedicated to it: Why Not To Use A Rototiller.

TIP 3: Don’t Over Hoe Your Row

Here’s another long time garden chore that used to take hours in the garden – and should take only minutes.

Using a hoe to loosen the surface soil around the base and root zone of your plant is a great weekly practice. It provides air to the plant’s base and allows nutrients and water to more easily reach the root structure.

But that is the extent of what is needed – just a 3 to 5″ light hoeing of the perimeter soil around the base of each plant. Leave all of the other space in your planting rows alone and simply mulch it!

Over-hoeing creates the same issue as tilling – planting above ground weeds seeds back into the earth. All you need is a light hoeing immediately around the plants – it saves tons of time and labor, and eliminates replanting weed seeds.

TIP 4 : Start Practicing The Art Of Cover Crops:

Cover crops keep the soil from eroding and weed seeds from finding a home

Start cover cropping this fall. Cover crops really help eliminate weeds over time by protecting your bare soil over the late fall, winter and early spring months.

They have obvious benefits to helping your soils vitality, but they also help to form a barrier for blowing seeds to enter and lay in wait. We are lucky to have a feed store close to us that sells annual rye, however, you can also find seeds on line like Jonathan Green Winter Rye that can be shipped directly to you.

After a season or two of cover crops – you will be amazed how little weeds actually even appear in your garden. You can find more about cover crops here : Cover Crops In Your Garden.

Tip 5 : Keeping The Weeds Out Of Walking Rows:

Keeping weeds out of the walking rows between your plants is just as important to the health of your garden as it is the look. The answer – Mulch – Mulch and more Mulch!

We use whatever we have on hand. Straw and shredded leaves work great to create a thick 3 to 5″ covering between our planting rows and will help eliminate weeds.

From time to time a few weeds will start to pop up – and we simply pull them on our daily trips through the garden. If they become thicker – we simply take the weed eater through the garden and mow them down to the ground and reapply a few more inches of mulch.

It immediately looks great again and stays that way for weeks. It’s so much quicker and better than tilling up that soil between your rows!

TIP 6: Practice The 10 Minute-A-Day Philosophy

10 minutes a day goes a long way in the garden

I think there are a lot of skeptics when we say we spend only 5 to 10 minutes a day in the garden for maintenance.

However, that is one of the biggest secrets to maintaining a weed free garden – actually spending that time in the garden each day!

This may sound a bit crazy, but 10 minutes of daily work is not the same as spending 70 minutes once a week in the garden.

In fact, there is a huge difference between the two. If you let the garden go for more than a day or two – weeds and the problems they bring multiply and magnify.

Roots get deeper, spread and multiply, and suddenly you feel overwhelmed. What takes 10 minutes one day can suddenly take 4 to 8 hours when it has been neglected for a week or two. And guess what? It’s not fun anymore at that point.

We head into the garden every day and walk the rows. If we see a weed around a plant, we pull it as we go.

Usually, once a week we will spend the time hoeing the area only around the plants – once again – the process just takes 10 minutes to do the entire garden.

Another day, we spend the time putting down some extra compost mulch around the plants or straw or shredded leaves in the paths. That’s it.

So there you have it – how we keep our weeds and workload to a minimum. And remember the reason most of us garden in the first place – to eat healthier and get a little exercise. This is a perfect 10 minute workout every day!

Happy Gardening! – Jim and Mary

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6 Tips To Eliminate Weeds From Your Garden! Tagged on: garden weeds gardening mulching mulching weeds No rototiller needed preventing weeds straw bale gardening weeding weeds weeds in the garden

They choke out your garden. They reappear again and again in between the cracks in your sidewalks and driveway. They take over your flower beds. Those aggravating weeds just won’t stop! Even if you pull them up by their roots, more will just take their place. Like a never-ending weed army. What’s an organic gardener to do?

Instead of dousing them in chemical weed killers, get rid of weeds naturally. These five methods will keep those wild weeds restrained without harming the environment.

1. Mulch

Layering mulch on your garden soil will stifle those annoying weeds from growing. Watch out, though. Mulch will only slow the weeds down, not prevent them. You’ll still see some peek through the layers.

Packing an organic mulch around your plants will also give your garden something to munch on. As it breaks down, mulch will provide your plants with the nutrients they need to flourish. It will also help lock in moisture, to help your thirsty plants retain water.

2. White vinegar

This kitchen staple does everything else. It cleans counters, kills odors, makes a delicious homemade salad dressing…why not kill weeds too? Spritz white vinegar on unwanted weeds to get rid of them. It won’t work as quickly as chemical weed killers, but it won’t mess with the environment either. When you spray the weeds, make sure the vinegar gets down in the roots, not just on the plant. Just avoid spraying your garden plants, as it will kill them too.

3. Boiling water

Fill up that kettle. Plain old H20 is an effective weed killer. Pouring boiling water on weeds will essentially burn them, as morbid as it sounds. You may only want to use this method to get rid of weeds on your sidewalks and driveways, though. Boiling water won’t distinguish between a “good” and “bad” plant in your garden.

4. Salt water

Salt water works as an effective weed killer. It will dehydrate the weeds by releasing their nutrients into the soil and preventing them from absorbing water. Unfortunately, salt water may also damage the soil surrounding the weeds and any other plants’ underground roots nearby.

A pinch of salt diluted in a lot of water may not do too much damage, but it may not be worth risking your carefully-cultivated organic veggies, herbs and flowers. Instead, use this method on weeds growing in driveways and sidewalks and on any surrounding plant life that you don’t want coming back any time soon.

5. Corn meal

Prevent weeds from sprouting in the first place using corn meal. Corn gluten acts as a pre-emergent, meaning it kills seedlings before they appear above ground. You can sprinkle corn meal over a garden or flowerbed to prevent more weeds from growing.

It won’t kill already growing plants, but keep in mind it won’t kill already growing weeds either. Sprinkling corn meal in soil that you plan on planting transplants or more fully mature plants is also a good plan to save your back from constant weed pulling. Plus, when corn meal breaks down it will provide your plants with much needed nitrogen, an often lacking soil nutrient.

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image: AlishaV

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