Weed your Garden in six easy steps. Nobody likes to weed the garden but I’m here to tell you if you want good healthy plants that grow vigorously. Plants that produce large delicious vegetables. You will need to do some weeding. It’s not hard work, especially if you do it often enough. It’s not something that needs to be done everyday either. Maybe just once every couple of weeks.
See the problem with weeds is that they compete with what you are trying to grow. They compete for water, nutrients, and light. All plants roots create root exudates. Some of the plants exudates contain chemicals that can actually harm other plants. I don’t know what plants do or don’t. So the best thing to do is to remove them while they are still small. In order to get your plants to grow well they should not have to compete with anything else. Including other plants of the same type. That’s why plant spacing is so critical.
Six Easy Steps
1. Wait until you can see them. Timing is everything, this goes for weeds too. Some may be too small to be effectively pulled. But with good and consistent weeding I don’t worry to much about leaving the tiny ones for next time. When they are an optimum size for my grimy fingers to pick that’s when I take them. I always find bigger ones I missed from last time. It’s important to pull them from around the base of your plants when they are small so that the root ripping experience does not harm the plants you are trying to grow. Also it is important not to wait too long to pull weeds. If they go to seed you will be battling an even bigger weed issue later on as they multiply out of control in your garden. If you pull them on a regular basis you will notice a diminishing weed problem each time you weed.
2. Pull them out roots and all. Some plants you can be rid of by just knocking the growing tip off. But there are just as many perennial plants trying to sprout up in your garden beds as there are annual ones. To be sure, just pull the whole thing out. The best time to do this is after a good rain or after you have watered. With the soil moist you will have less issue with pulling the weeds out roots and all.
3. Put them in a bucket as you go. I sit on an upside down bucket, and drag another bucket along with me to throw the weeds in. If you leave the weeds lay there on the ground there is a good chance they will actually take root and start growing again. It really depends on what it is and how tenacious the plant is. But I have actually had this happen. You may also find things that have started to grow that you may just decide to keep. I always get volunteer tomatoes every year. Sunflowers I haven’t had to plant for many years now, they just keep coming back. I just move them when they are small if they are in a bad spot or weed around them and let them grow big. Sometimes I’ll find weeds I know I can eat and give them the space they need too. Purslane usually comes up, it’s probably one of the healthiest foods growing and is high in omega 3’s. Another that likes to pop up in my garden is lambs quarters. Cook it like spinach and eat em up. I know I’ve been pulling out other stuff I should be eating but I just don’t know any better. But as with anything else in this world I’m still learning.
4. Use this as an opportunity to inspect for any issues or pests that may be effecting your plants. This is what gardening is after all. Caring for plants. As I move through the garden I’m looking for any tomato hornworms, squash beetles, or any other pest that may be wreaking havoc with any of my plants. I’m also looking for distressed plants, damage from larger animals, or signs of disease. If I do find any leaves that are damaged I remove them and put them in my bucket too. If I come across any bugs I know cause damage, I squash them and in the bucket they go.
5. Compost the weeds. After my bucket is full or after I’m all done weeding for the day. I dump the whole bucket onto the materials I’m building up to make the next compost pile. All the biomass you just pulled out of your garden is biomass that could have been part of your tomato plant, or your next over achieving zucchini plant. Instead it was weeds. It would be foolish to just throw them away. Instead compost any debris that comes out of your garden. It should go right back in the form of compost. That way those weeds can become your next tomato, or your next zucchini. Put it around your fruit tree’s and those weeds can become your next apple too.
Apply mulch to any exposed dirt. You should not see any dirt in your garden. You should keep it covered at all times. All a weed seed needs is a little light to get a foot hold in your garden. Then it’s off to growing, well like a weed. If weeds do pop up through your mulch it most likely will be shallowly rooted just under the mulch. This will allow you to pull the weed easily. Mulch also allows your soil to retain moisture longer than bare soil. Bare disturbed soil loses soil organic matter. Mulch helps retain this, it helps your plants grow. So mulch around all of your plants. Cover all of the exposed soil, and keep it covered.
When it comes to Weeding
I prefer to do it this way pulling weeds one by one, it’s good exercise. You know what’s happening with your plants. And it only needs to be done when it needs to be done. You should be looking at your garden every day. Only weed when you need to. But do weed when you need to. If you don’t they will quickly get away from you. Then you will just have a weed patch instead of a pumpkin patch.
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