For most of us, weeding is one of the least pleasurable aspects of having a garden and a cause for procrastination. And while I totally understand how important it is to finish binge-watching Bridgerton, it’s also essential to make sure your garden is weed-free. June 13th is National Weed Your Garden Day, so there’s no better time to do it. Here are some chemical-free and less dig-intensive ways to go about it.
You Can Dig If You Want To
Digging up the weeds or getting down on your knees and pulling them up is an organic way of getting rid of them, and it’s also great exercise. But it can be hard on the back and isn’t something everyone can physically do. Still, here are a few quick tips for those looking to dig ‘em up:
- A friend of mine swears by his standing plant root remover tool, which you place over the weed, step into the ground and pull it up, root and all. It pulls out individual roots without disturbing the area around it at all. And it requires very little, if any, bending over.
- If pulling the weeds out by hand, take care to pull out the weed and the root rather than yanking too fast and hard and leaving the root in the ground.
- Don’t compost weeds that have already gone to seed; this could lead to reintroducing the weed seeds back into the garden.
The easiest garden to weed is one without any weeds in it. That’s where mulch comes in. Mulch is excellent for your garden for several reasons, including getting rid of weeds and controlling weed growth in the future. Weeds need sunlight to germinate and grow, and covering up the soil in your garden with a thick layer of mulch will block the light from reaching the weeds.
Leave The Soil Alone
Some say it’s good to turn the soil as a de-weeding method, the idea being that by digging in and cultivating the earth, you are pulling weeds, damaging and killing them. But if you aren’t completely removing the roots, then what you’re doing is exposing new weeds and seeds to the sun.
A German study determined that turning the soil at night can reduce germination by up to 78%. So, as long as you aren’t a werewolf, may I suggest doing your cultivating by the light of a full moon.
The last thing any of us want to do is use chemicals to kill weeds. Sure, it may destroy the weeds, but it can also kill nearby plants, it’s dangerous for children, insects, and animals, and it can get into the soil and water system.
Here are a few DIY weed killers you can make yourself with straightforward ingredients you probably already have:
- Boiling Water: You aren’t going to pour boiling water all over your lawn and garden, but to kill those pesky weeds that pop up in the cracks in your driveway and between pavers, it’s a great option.
- Vinegar, Salt & Dish Soap: This is one of the combinations said to kill weeds and do it fast. However, it doesn’t take out the roots, so you might have to keep applying it. Also, some people suggest horticultural acid, which is 20% acetic acid. It might be better for those more vigorous weeds but could lower the pH level of the soil.