Weeding the garden is a task that most would rather skip. This season, you can minimize weeding with just a few simple steps and some basic garden tools.
Cover Your Garden
Gardening is one of the best things about the warmer seasons, especially when you can enjoy the fresh dad farm-to-table flavor of homegrown produce. To help control weeds in the garden, consider using organic mulch or a barrier, such as landscape fabric. While landscape fabric is best for raised beds, organic mulch is a versatile option that suits a variety of garden types. Generally, mulch is removed and replaced at the end of each growing season, but has the benefit of housing beneficial garden insects like crickets.
The insects help reduce weeds by eating dormant seeds in the soil. Landscaping cloth lasts for up to five years in raised garden beds, but isn't recommended for direct placement on the ground because weeds can root in the fabric, and tears are common during replanting in subsequent years.
In raised beds, the fabric prevents weed growth by blocking sunlight and water to the covered soil. If you see small weeds in the exposed soil, pull them while they are small to make the task easy. Replace your landscaping cloth when it is torn, or when weeds root in the fabric, to maintain it's effectiveness against weeds.
Minimize Soil Disturbance
Dormant weed seeds begin to sprout when the top layers of soil are disturbed. To reduce soil disturbance, use a sharp garden tool to slice the ground when planting landscaping features, and limit tilling to only the areas you plan to use during the upcoming season. Plant new seeds immediately after amending your soil to reduce the resources available to weeds and further restrict their growth.
Eliminating every weed on your property takes consistent effort. To remove mature weeds without spreading their seeds, cut the heads off the plant over a garbage bag, and recycle, throw away or compost the heads in a high heat compost bin. Mature weeds also die when you cut the stem off just below ground level, or you can remove the plant's root using a fishtail-style weed removal tool.
Make sure to wash your garden tools after removing weeds, otherwise you may accidentally spread seeds from mature weeds when working on other landscaping projects. After a few seasons of consistently removing weeds, you should see a beautifully weed-free lawn and garden.