Getting Rid of Those Weeds!
Ask any gardener their biggest problem with garden maintenance and they are likely to say weed control. Chemicals can work to successfully thwart many weeds, but unfortunately often kill or harm the plants you want to grow. Serious health problems, including miscarriage, have been linked to the use of herbicides, so a more natural method of weed control is in order. Some gardeners will try to whack weeds down with hoes and spades, and some will spend hours on their knees pulling them up by hand.
Constant tilling is considered the answer by some farmers, but this can increase the erosion of organic material and bring more seeds to the surface of the soil. Placing something as a blockade between rows and around plants is a better alternative, and some farmers use rows of plastic to good effect. Of course, this can make it difficult to properly water plants, which can lead to easier rotting. Some weeds, like nut grass, will sprout right through the plastic anyway, and getting to the nut will require you to tear up the plastic. Plus, having your garden covered with torn plastic makes it that much more difficult to till and plant next year.
Pine straw can be ideal for smaller gardens, especially since it will add organic material for next year’s soil. However, it does harbor rot, and it can be very challenging to get enough of it to cover a larger garden. Newspaper can often work well. Save every bit of newspaper you can get, and lay it down in layers with a small bit of dirt on top. While this can take a serious time investment, it will prevent the growth of all but the most stubborn weeds, and adding another layer of newspaper and dirt to patches that spring up anyway just may deter them. Paper feed sacks, if you can find them, work even better than newspaper and are easier to lay down. They biodegrade more effectively than newspaper as well, but be sure to remove the strings before laying them down or you will find them stuck in your soil next year.
Gardening is a fun and rewarding hobby, but after all, you are not spreading that fertilizer and water and expending that labor to grow weeds. Use these tips to take control of your kingdom, and watch your subjects sprout to life. If you want to know more about garden maintenance, LED grow lights, indoor greenhouses and other gardening topics check out your local library.