|Image: Gibby's Garden|
Weeds are the last thing we gardeners want to see growing, especially in abundance. Not only do they soak up vital nutrients, water and sunlight, they take time to pull - a time consuming task. Over the years I’ve found 3 ways that really help keep weeds from growing including mulching, cultivating and weeding more frequently, helping to free up my summer for more fun activities.
1#: Mulch! Mulch! Mulch!
One of the best ways to stop weeds from growing is by mulching, and this is something that I cannot stress enough. Mulch prevents weeds from growing while helping the soil stay moist, so it’s like getting a 2 for 1 deal. There are many varieties of mulches to suit your needs and tastes including hay, straw, bark, pine needles, crushed peanut shells etc.
Note: I’ve been using mulch hay as mulch for years now mainly because I live on a farm and it’s free and readily available to me. This year after my garden was tilled, I immediately put down a thick layer of mulch to stop weeds from growing before I had a chance to plant. Now, I still get some weeds, but I’ve cut the time I used to spend weeding by about 2/3.
Cultivate around larger plants making sure not to disturb their roots and between rows using a hand held or electric cultivator. I use a hand held cultivator to lightly turn the soil. This uproots weeds as well as their seeds before they have a chance to grow. This is one of the more physical and time consuming ways to stop weeds from growing but it works; especially when coupled with mulch.
#3: Weed Frequently
The more often you weed the fewer weeds you’ll have to pull. When you get rid of weeds by cultivating or pulling by hand, you disturb the soil which helps stop future weeds from growing as well as eliminate the ones already there. I like to check my gardens every few days and pull or cultivate any weeds to stay on top of things.
As much as I would love to say I don’t get any weeds, I can’t, but I’m happy to report I’ve drastically cut down the time I spend weeding my garden. I encourage you to try the 3 ways I’ve shared and to key me in on any of your own ideas. Mind you I’m an organic gardener, so spraying with pesticides isn’t an option for me.