Weeding is one of the constant joys of gardening, but only if you’re the sort of person who has time on their hands. For most of us keeping on top of the weeds is a non-stop battle so anyone who can suggest ways to make the task easier is very welcome. I found this article over at BobVila called “How to: Weed Your Garden” and while there are no magical tricks there is some good solid advice worth reading.
Even late into the season, the summer can seem like one prolonged fight against garden weeds. The bad news? There?s no winning this war; you?ll be engaged on the front lines so long as you wish to maintain a manicured landscape. But with the right tools and proper techniques, you can keep the enemy contained.
Preventing weeds is the best way to limit their proliferation. The basic strategy here is to make your garden a less-than-hospitable location for unwanted plants. First and foremost, limit the amount of bare soil present in your garden, as empty patches of fertile soil are like oases for weeds. Instead, plant densely, use mulch, and consider taking advantage of the natural weed-suppressing power of?ground covers or landscaping fabric, the latter being effective but artificial.
Even the best practices won?t stop every single weed from finding its way into your garden, but by employing some or all of the following methods, you can stand your ground against their ceaseless incursion.
1. Weed daily
Some gardeners weed only once a week, and surprising though it may be, even that frequency gives the roots of weeds sufficient time to grow deep and strong. A superior strategy is to weed a little every day. That way, you ensure the problem never gets out of hand. Bring along a kneeler and a shovel, a weed knife, or even an old fork to help you get to the roots. Don?t neglect walking rows (footpaths between plantings); if weeds get a stronghold there, they can easily spread.
Note: If you weed more frequently and vigorously in the first months of spring and summer, you?ll be doing yourself a favor for the rest of the growing season, as you?ll prevent weeds from going to seed and spreading farther afield.?
2. Hoe regularly
Another way of uprooting weeds is to hoe regularly. Gardeners favor this approach, as it allows them to avoid the backbreaking work of pulling each weed manually. Be very careful not to hoe too deep, though: You might bring weed seeds to the surface, where they will enjoy access to the light and water essential for growth. Once a week, stir the soil at the base of plants to a depth of three inches maximum. Hoe only to one inch if you want to stay on the safe side.