by Jennifer Poindexter
Ask me what I hate doing the most around the garden. Go ahead, but you probably already know what I’m going to say. Yes, I hate pulling weeds. They’re the most frustrating part of the gardening experience. However, you must battle them because, if you don’t, they’ll kill your plants.
Though I don’t like weeding, over the years, I’ve discovered a few ways to stay ahead of the weeds in my garden.
Here are my top tips and tricks when weeding your garden.
1. Right Size Garden Plot
When trying to keep weeds under control, it all starts with the right sized growing area. If you have a monstrosity of a garden and no way to keep up with the weeds, you’re setting yourself up for frustration.
Look at your equipment, time, and physical ability. If you have plenty of time to spend in your garden, you might be able to handle the maintenance of a larger garden area.
If you don’t have a ton of time, equipment, or aren’t physically able, try gardening in a smaller raised bed or opting for a container garden.
2. Weed Barrier Where Possible
Once you have an accurate size garden, for your situation, it’s time to consider if you can place weed barrier in your garden.
Some people use weed barrier in larger gardens to keep the weeds out of the rows between their vegetables. There have been reports that this can cause fungal disease.
However, you might think it better to take your chances with a fungicide than battling weeds constantly. If you have a raised bed, it’s wise to add weed barrier in the bottom to stop weeds from sprouting under your garden bed.
3. Aerate Your Soil
When you have your garden area set-up the way you desire, look at your soil. It should be fluffy and well-draining for your plants.
However, if you’re growing in an inground garden plot, and you’re still working on amending your soil, don’t give up.
Instead, keep fluffing and aerating your dirt. It’s easier to pull weeds from aerated soil than from compacted soil. The compacted dirt holds the roots of the weeds tighter.
4. Don’t Blow Grass in Your Garden
If you’re a parent who has teenagers mowing your lawn, you understand where I’m coming from with this point.
I must remind my teenager, every time he mows, to mow away from the garden. Otherwise, all the grass flies into the garden and will take root.
If you don’t want to pull weeds and grass out of your garden, do everything you can to stop them from landing there in the first place. Sometimes, it’s as simple as mowing in the opposite direction from your garden.
5. Create Walkways
If you can create a walkway around your garden, you should. The more you can stop grass and weeds from growing around your garden, the less likely they’ll end up in your garden.
However, if you don’t have a walkway, mulch, or weed barrier around your garden or raised beds, the grass will need to be mowed.
You may also have to weed eat. This only creates more opportunity for weeds to fly. Therefore, it’s better to create paths around your garden to stop lawn work from occurring near your grow space.
6. Pull Weeds When Wet
Don’t try to pull weeds in the middle of a drought. The ground is hard, the weeds are deeply rooted, and you’re going to get frustrated.
Instead, after a good rain, go outside and pull weeds. It might be wet, and your feet might get some mud on them, but it makes for much easier work.
If you aren’t receiving much rain, water your garden prior to pulling weeds. Anything you can do to soften the ground, will work in your favor.
7. Get Them While They’re Small
Don’t wait until weeds take over your garden to do something about it. Instead, stay on top of them while they’re small.
The larger weeds get, the deeper the roots take hold. Weeds can develop strong root systems, too.
Therefore, if you pull them while they’re young, the roots are weaker. This should make for less labor-intensive work on your part.
8. Herbicides Might Help
Some people aren’t a huge fan of herbicides. It will boil down to your personal preference on whether you want to consider this option or not. However, if you live on a larger plot of land, herbicides can help you maintain the weeds.
We live on a small farm. Though I don’t use herbicides in my vegetable garden, I use it on the acres surrounding my home to reduce the amount of weed eating we must do.
It’s helpful when getting rid of weeds in your sidewalks and for keeping the weeds away from the edge of flower beds.
9. Pre-Emergent Herbicide
If you aren’t against the use of herbicides, in your garden area, consider using pre-emergent herbicides. This is an herbicide that works on weeds before you see them.
You sprinkle the herbicide on the ground, around your plants. It stops weeds from being able to germinate.
If you have an area around your home which is constantly infested with weeds, consider using this method to stop the problem before it starts.
10. Come with the Right Tools
There are some areas where you can pull weeds by hand. Yet, there are some situations when weeding by hand won’t do.
For slightly stubborn weeds, you may need a garden trowel or spade. This will help you dig up the roots of the weed to stop it from returning.
When weeds won’t budge, it’s wise to use a garden hoe or a tiller, for larger areas, to remove the weeds at the root.
11. Try No-Till
If you have the supplies for a no-till garden, this might be an excellent way to garden without worrying about weeding.
The idea is to place many layers of cardboard, newspaper, and wood chips. They all compost to create a rich gardening area.
However, if you don’t have enough materials to cover your garden space, in a deep enough manner, you could have more weeds to pull. Consider your resources before trying this style of garden.
12. Remove the Heads
Where I’m from, we have a prickly weed called hogweed. Its scientific name is Heracleum. This weed will prick you, it can cause a burning sensation if your skin touches it, and it grows everywhere.
With this type of weed, we cut the tops off of it. This keeps us from having to touch the weed once it has grown too large to handle.
If you have an invasive weed that is either prickly or dangerous to touch, skip pulling it out by the roots. Cut the top off the weed using hedge clippers. Once it’s in a more manageable state, you can dig the roots out of the ground.
13. Boiling Water for Weeds
My final tip for getting rid of weeds is to pour boiling water on them. This won’t work for larger areas impacted by weeds.
However, if you have a flower garden where weeds tend to pop up, heat your tea kettle. Walk along the area, pouring boiling water directly onto the weeds.
They’ll wilt, and it should kill the roots as well. Be careful when doing this to avoid burning yourself or your plants.
This concludes our tour of tips for weeding your garden and other grow spaces. I understand the dread many gardeners feel when it comes to pulling weeds.
Hopefully, these tips will encourage you to keep up the good fight against weeds in your garden. Your plants should prosper with fewer weeds to compete with.