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Are weeds taking over your garden and yard? Here are some ideas for organic weed control so the solution doesn’t make you sick. Knowing how to control weeds is an important part of beginning gardening skills. Because they can ruin everything. And we don’t want them to.
The kids will pick a few weeds, but they tire of it quickly, especially the younger ones. What’s a girl to do? I refuse to give in and use round up or any other toxic chemicals to control weeds. I need an organic weed control system.
Roundup has been found in our food supply and people’s bloodstream and tissue in alarming amounts and is believed to be a cause for numerous health problems including Parkinson’s disease, infertility, and cancer. Click here to see reports on links between Roundup and cancer. Click here to see a report on links between Roundup and Parkinson’s disease.
More information on how to build raised beds, build a trellis for your plants, and basic gardening information you need is available here in these beginning gardening videos. Click here for more information. You can even download a tour of what types of beds we have in our preschool gardens for free.
Back to the weeds, we need to keep the weeds to a minimum in the garden because they can shade out our desirable plants, choke out their space to grow roots, and rob them of moisture and nutrients. Most weeds are very resilient, that’s how they survive. While our produce plants have to be cultivated and cared for in order to find success.
How to control weeds naturally
There are a few things that can help cut down on the amount of time you spend weeding with organic weed control ideas:
1. The first rule of keeping a weed free garden is weed early, and weed OFTEN! Don’t give those root systems a chance to develop and for goodness sake, don’t let those seed heads develop and spread more weeds! Pulling weeds by hand is the safest way to control them. Try to get the roots out intact so they will not grow back on the root.
2. Landscape fabric or plastic makes a barrier on top of your soil that can help prevent unwanted vegetation from growing in areas you don’t want them. Multiple layers of cardboard or newspaper can have the same effect.
3. Making your own spray of full-strength vinegar and a few teaspoons of dishwashing liquid can burn your weeds with acidity. The dish liquid breaks down the waxy coating on the weeds and allows the vinegar to penetrate the weed. This will burn your desirable plants as well, so be careful.
How to keep weeds out of vegetable garden naturally
4. Mulching around your plants when they are 4-5 inches tall with straw (not hay), leaves, grass clippings, wood chips, or other materials can help your garden retain moisture as well as smother out any weeds that try to germinate and help your vegetable garden stay weed free. Hay contains seeds so it can be counterproductive. Mulching heavily is the best way to keep weeds at bay. The deeper the mulch, the less will germinate. Tuck those plants in all comfy and safe with as much mulch as you can find. Is it a good idea to use plastic mulch? Click on the highlighted text to find out more.
5. Using a hoe or other tool to kill weeds can be an effective way to reduce weeds without as much bending which can be hard on your back. Also, you can use these tools to scrape along your driveway or sidewalks to kill weeds growing up in the cracks.
6. Preventative measures go a long way in weed prevention. Avoid using compost that may contain weed seeds in it. Make sure if you are bringing in soil, that it does not contain weed seeds. The last thing you want to do is ADD weeds to your garden. This will help you with organic weed control more than anything.
Controlling weeds organically
Learn to like the process, because weeding is not going anywhere. Weeding a small area often will save you from having a giant area to weed that can be overwhelming. Some weeds are even edible and can be picked and eaten for valuable nutrients.
The other day my friend Christina came to take a tour of our gardens. I was complaining to her about the overwhelming number of weeds in the garden and she said, you’re not going to be able to have it perfect with NO weeds. She was so right.
Being a perfectionist, many times I forget that nothing in the garden will ever be perfect. I was grateful she reminded me. It’s best to learn that a few weeds in the garden is okay.
Check out this month by month garden planting guide for more beginner gardening information as well as these posts:
- How much water does my garden really need?
- How to build cheap raised beds
- How to build a trellis that will last
- How to make garden markers
- How to save seeds from your garden
- How to compost
- How to mulch your garden for free
- Can you really garden without pesticides?
- How to deal with slugs
- How to deal with squash bugs
- How to deal with grasshoppers and hornworms