Planning the War on Weeds
How to survive the battle with weeds.
As we head into a new gardening season for 2016, I was thinking about how we can reduce our time spent on weeding. It's a common problem, we're as guilty as anyone, putting off small weeding jobs which quickly become large ones because the weather isn't so great outside.
Very few gardens can claim to be completely weed free and those that can have put an awful lot of work in over numerous years to keep it that way. On that note, here are our top 10 tips to keep your garden weed free in 2016.
Certain perennials and most annual weeds will spread their seed as much as possible. The secret to winning the war on weeds is to get them before they seed. Identify your weeds and find out when they typically start seeding, ensure you remove them from your garden before they do.
This is all easier said than done and it may take you a few growing seasons to nail it down. Spend 10 minutes each day in your garden with a hoe eliminating all the seedlings you can find, that's how you keep your garden weed free.
Check out : Top tips for hand weeding your garden.
A common mistake gardeners make is to collect all their weeds in a pile and just leave them there. Be warned if the weed has already started it's seeding then it may still spread seeds. Not all weeds can be composted and some may even spread seeds inside your compost.
Carry a bucket or bag around when weeding, once your finished put it in your food or garden waste recycling bin.
Growing vegetables this year? Tired of picking weeds out your borders or vegetable rows? Crowd those suckers out! Weeds need space to grow, give them none and they won't grow. You can often reduce the recommended plant spacing for vegetables up to 25%.
Don't rush into this one. Reduce the spacing between plants a little each year. If your plants aren't growing properly then reverse the process. We also recommend growing cover crops outwith your growing season, weeds will quickly colonise any bare soil.
Growing Vegetables? Read this: Effective Weed Control in Vegetable Gardens
If you don't mulch you should start. Cover any bare soil with a mulch of bark at least 3 inches thick. Ornamental bark is too large and may allow weeds through, try to use smaller bark chips. Mulches will keep the weeds away, conserve moisture and they look good too.
Alternative mulches include : straw, newspaper, cardboard and old carpet. If your not planning on using an area of garden you could always cover it with heavy duty plastic sheeting, it won't degrade and so be sure to remove it when your ready to use the area again.
Lay some weed control fabric, cut holes for your plants and cover with gravel, slate or stone chippings. Not only does it show of your plants but it looks great and is an easy way to create a low maintenance garden.
When done correctly the weeds will be kept at bay for several years and you can easily pull up any that start to grow next to your plants. Eventually weeds will settle on top of the gravel and grow, they shouldn't be hard to pull out.
Got Gravel? Read this: Prevent Weeds on Gravel Driveways & Surfaces
Composting, it's a magical thing, rich nutrients for your plants and vegetables and all it takes is food scraps and old plants! Be warned homemade compost can be a hot bead for weed seeds. Lurking, waiting for the right conditions to grow. Do not compost weeds which have seeds.
The same applies if your buying manure locally or from a farm. It's likely sat outside for weeks or months, weed seeds will have been carried in on the wind or by the animals themselves. Scrape off the surface of the manure and dispose of it before you plant.
Potted plants bought from supermarkets or department stores may have been sitting outside for long periods. Who knows where they came from! Before you start planting them in the garden check for emerging seedlings, if there are any scrape the top layer of soil off and bin it.
Deep rooted perennials like dandelions, nettles and docks will regrow if you leave bits of it. Pick the head off and it will quickly regrow. Be ruthless with perennials and make sure you get everything, in some cases it may be easier and wiser to use a weed killer.
Got weed problems? Kill weeds permanently, dead weeds forever.
Our philosophy is 10 minutes a day to a weed free future. Spend 10 minutes a day in your garden with your trusty hoe and remove weeds as soon as they sprout. Do this every day and you'll save time, money & effort down the road. Don't put it off, remove those weeds now.
The use of weed killer is an emotive subject. Sometimes it's the only thing that will do the job. Use it as a last resort.
Follow all the advice above and you shouldn't even need it. Remember - spend 10 minutes each day weeding for a weed free future.