Weeds invade every part of your landscape. Gardens require constant vigilance because weeds can interfere with your flowers or vegetables. Here are some tips for whacking those weeds.
Weeds and their seeds are everywhere
Weed seeds are constantly on the move. They travel in the wind and in bird droppings. They can even hitch a ride on the soles of your shoes. Even fresh loads of vegetable or flower garden soil contain weed seeds that will germinate and sprout.
Weeds compete with your plants for water and nutrients, robbing your plantings of precious resources. Remove weeds early and often. Letting weeds grow to maturity allows them to produce seeds that lead to more weeds.
- Get a head start on weed removal in your garden by laying down your garden soil a week or two before you plant your vegetables or flowers. Allow weeds to reveal themselves first, then pull them when they are young and tender. Then plant your garden.
- Once your garden grows, pull weeds when they are young before their roots are deep and harder to remove. Use a kneeling mat or sitting stool for extended weeding sessions.
- Pull weeds when the soil is wet. Roots come up more easily from wet soil.
- With dry soil, use a hoe. Dig deep enough to get the roots without disturbing your plants.
- Use a fork at the base of tough weeds to dig them up. Get as many of the roots out as possible to prevent regrowth.
- Do not use chemical herbicides in a vegetable garden. Instead, use natural weed killers such as salt water, vinegar, or boiling water. These may take more than one application, but persistence pays off.
- Start by covering the ground in your garden with landscape fabric, followed by compost or mulch. Then, cut openings to plant your flowers or vegetables. The covering denies the weed seeds the sunlight needed for them to germinate and grow.
- Alternatively, cover the ground around your plants with strips of cardboard or newspaper (with black ink only). Wet these down, then cover them with compost or mulch.
- Pre-emergent weed killers are designed to prevent seeds from germinating in the first place. Again, avoid using chemicals in vegetable gardens.
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