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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Gardening » NO MORE GARDEN OF WEEDIN’!

NO MORE GARDEN OF WEEDIN’!

One of the hardest things about gardening is dealing with the weeds that are inevitable in every garden!  No one is immune and no one enjoys weeding.  I want to devote a little space to the subject of how to get rid of and keep rid of weeds.

As I said before every garden has weeds. Weeds are any plant that grows in an area where it is not wanted. :-))) Morning glories are abhorred by many gardeners – but they are sold by almost every garden supply company.  Why? Well, morning glories are beautiful plants, but when they are invading your corn they are just a menacing weed.

You must treat all weeds with the same mindset as you do any other plant.  First, realize that all plants have a life cycle and certain criteria for good growth and reproduction.  What do all plants need to survive?  Soil-nutrients, water, light.  When a plant is deprived of these things they cannot grow nor reproduce.  Most “weeds” have become well adapted to harsh growing conditions in order to survive and so it is going to take a wise person to eradicate them from the garden plot.

Lets deal with nutrients first.  The soil that you have in your garden is loaded with nutrients.  Some plant can thrive in even the most pathetic soil.  You cannot plant a rose, fertilize, mulch, and water that soil without all of that helping the weeds to grow as well. One thing you can do is keeping your focus on your plant.  When I a putting fertilizer in my garden in preparation to grow tomatoes, I do not broadcast the fertilizer everywhere.  We dig a trench/hole, put a small amount of fertilizer or composted manure in the bottom of the hole, and then cover that with a little soil.  Then I plant my tomato plant on top of this.  My fertilizer is right there for my tomato to take in.  Get the picture?  Spot fertilizing helps the plants you want to help.

Next we will deal with water.  Here is the south we are dealing with a changing climate.  Xeroscaping is learning to use native plants in a way to conserve water.  With this in mind it is obvious that if weeds do not receive water they will die out quickly.  If you water the entire garden overhead you are wasting a great deal of water and you are watering weeds.  Why would you need to water the walkways between the rows? When we plant we use a sprayer on the end of the hose and water each plant individually or at least each row only where something has been planted.  You can also purchase a soaker hose that is placed alongside the plants and slowly soaks the area.

Another idea I have read about but not done personally is to take a 2-liter soda bottle, cut an opening in the bottom and punch holes in the cap with a nail.  Then you turn the bottle upside down near a plant, fill the bottle with water through the hole you made and then the water slowly drips through the cap into the soil.

Whatever you choose to do as far as method of watering, if you can cut down on watering the weeds then you truly have cut the weeding battle in half.

Light is another necessity for any plant.  This is really easy to control.  Mulch, mulch, mulch!  You can put mulch, about 3 to 5 inches deep around your plants and literally starve the weeds from any light.  The mulch will keep the soil moist and cool as well and you have triple the benefit.  You can mulch with leaves, compost, mulching fabric, old newspapers, and old carpet – there are so many options.

One more idea is to block plant or wide row plant.  The theory here is that the plants grow up and give a “canopy” over themselves so that no weeds can get light and grow.  I do this with my bush beans, greens, and limas and it works beautifully.  As we harvest we pick out any extra weeds that have managed to shoot up.

Lastly, let me talk a bit about the growth cycle of plants – weeds in particular.  Weeds grow from runners, tap roots or seeds.  If you can break the growth cycle then you can prevent the second generation of weeds.  Obviously runners will have to be pulled out of the soil.  Taproots have to be dug and I will add what my father-in-law Bruce would tell Paul when he was young.  “Dig it all out, son or you’ll have to dig it again.”  Truer words were never spoken – taproots go very deep and each little piece that you leave in the ground will grow another plant.

Finally – we will deal with weeds that come up from seeds.  This really is a common sense point, but sometimes I lack common sense.  Every plant’s goal is to make seed to bring forth a new generation.  This is how God designed them all.  If you can get rid of the weed before it has time to make seed then you put a halt to any further generations. :-)))) A plant grows, makes flowers and then comes the seed.  If you allow it to get to the flower stage you probably already have seeds.

There is nothing more precious than a little child blowing a dandelion puffball and watching the feathery wisps fly into the air.  DON’T LET THEM DO IT NEAR YOUR GARDEN!!!  Each of these sweet little puffballs makes hundreds of dandelions and they will invade every inch of your soil.  So many times I have looked at all the pretty little tiny white flowers dotting the yard or the yellow teeny little daisy everywhere – soooo pretty!  NOT!  These are the precursors to weeds.  Pull these before they can make seed and stop the future generations.

For our family gardening is a joy and triumph every year.  But the one thing we all mutually agree that we dislike is weeding!  As we try to end our weeding struggles I hope some of this helps you to realize that you can get a handle on yours.  Just – KILL IT BEFORE IT GROWS!!!

Angelia

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"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him." Lamentations 3:22-24

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One Response to "NO MORE GARDEN OF WEEDIN’!"

  1. Susanne Berg says:

    Regarding thistles I read somewhere that they should be removed in June. The reason is that in June they are in bloom but have yet to make seed so if they are removed then there is no chance of a second crop of thistles.

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