There is no getting away from weeds when gardening, but the problem seems to be more when growing plants organically. Unlike chemical herbicides and weed killers, natural eco-friendly alternatives tend to be less aggressive on weeds, but with a little perseverance the weeds can be eliminated from your garden.
Here are some tips to help you win the battle with the weeds:
Start when they are young
Ever tried to pull out weeds that have matured or are fully grown? Things like Thistles, Dandelions and Ragwort can be very tough to remove, often leaving a very strong tap root behind. Also, at this stage most weeds have flowered and set seed. To avoid this happening set aside some time (maybe once a week or once every two weeks) to hand weed your veggie patch, flower beds and small lawns. If you do it on a regular basis you’ll only be pulling out young weeds, which means they are much easier to remove than the larger established ones and prevent the weeds setting seed and spreading further.
Believe it or not many weeds thrive in infertile soils, which allows them to outgrow other plants. It is important to fertilise your plants, in order to give them a chance to compete with the weeds. Always check the soils pH, as extremely acidic or alkaline soils cause some nutrients to be bound up in the soil particles, preventing plants to use the nutrients and therefore slowing growth, whilst some weeds still manage to thrive. Acidic soils can be corrected by adding lime or dolomite (eco versions, of course). Correct alkaline soils by adding sulphur.
Have you ever noticed how weeds will grow almost anywhere. Between crevices in paving, coming out from under rocks and in areas where there is lots of shade. Unlike the plants we want grow, often weeds are the first to appear and in the most unlikely of places. This is why mulching is important. Cover bare patches with mulch and around your plants to make it harder for weeds to germinate and to establish. Mulching is also a great way to conserve moisture in the soil and to ensure plants get enough water.
In most cases it is not practical to manually weed a lawn. This is when you need to get the lawn mower out. Regular mowing will prevent many common weeds from maturing and setting seeds. By fertilising and ensuring your lawn is well watered, the grass will grow stronger, and with regular mowing it will encourage a more compact and thicker growth of the grass, which will block weed growth.
So the next time you are tempted to go for a chemically-loaded non-organic herbicide, think about what this chemical concoction is doing to the environment and your health. Many of these chemicals remain in the soil, only to be absorbed by your new plants and medical research is looking at the increasing links of these herbicides to cancers.
Hope these tips help you have an earthly passionate garden,
Attracta & the earthly passion team.