* How to design your garden to control weeds,
* How to keep on top of weeds,
* Organic methods for a beautiful garden.
Your weeding chores could be largely eliminated by designing weed control into your garden. And some things gardeners do - such as hoeing, simply turn up more weeds. That's why many weeds prosper in gardens - especially in vegetable gardens.
Alternatively a settled landscape with plenty of ground cover is a tough place for weeds to take hold. So here you might review your garden design and the way you are gardening. Below I reveal several ways of reducing weeds in both flower and vegetable gardens.
Using Natural Ground Cover
Weed Control In Flower Gardens Flower gardens benefit from a dense all over cover of low growing spreading plants. Not only are there many attractive ground cover plants that produce carpets of flowers, there are also many with attractively colored and variegated leaves. But they don't have to look stunning. Because they are often better grown as foils for the more colorful feature plants that you want to grow.
Encourage ground cover to spread and branch. While some ground cover plants put down roots and need some pruning to contain them, others may need some pruning and layering to help them spread. And these leave plenty of rooting space for your feature plants. You'll find most ground cover plants to be more attractive and useful than mulch. Find Ground Cover Plants Here.
Weed Control For Vegetable Gardens Veg growers may object that ground cover plants compete with prize vegetables. But shallow rooted ground cover is useful here too. Especially so when you read my page on companion plants and my methods of keeping pests off vegetables. You can also happily pack staple vegetables such a carrots, runner beans, beetroot... into some flowers beds where the results add up to more crops.
Sowing In Modules And Planting Out
Sowing directly outside usually involves cultivating the earth for your seeds to grow. Of course weed seeds also grow. One solution is to sow seeds in modules or trays of compost and plant out individually. The soil can be protected by a weed control barrier see below, to prevent weeds. Your ready rooted established seedlings are planted straight through holes made in the mulch.
See my page on natural weed killer.
Fall leaves and manure provide the most natural ground covering mulch. And settling your ground with a thick layer in the fall will help earthworms prosper, which is important.
With a no-dig approach organic layers are added and built up year on year. Annual weeds will subside because you only cultivate the surface sufficiently to grow your seeds. Even better you can grow seeds in modules and trays and plant out through the mulch.
Weed Control Barriers
Sometimes an artificial sheet mulch can be used temporarily to control perennial weeds see below. I don't recommend them as a permanent feature of organic gardens except under gravel. Find more on using mulch here.
Ground cover, loose organic mulches, or planting out, won't prevent perennial weeds from growing. These have underground roots or stems from which they can regenerate every year.
If you have an infestation of perennial weeds a once only weeding job needs to be done to get out the underground parts of perennial weeds such as:- Couch Grass, Docks, Thistles, Ground Elder and Bindweed... There's more on organic
control of perennial weeds here.
The alternative is to use a sheet mulch, but it may take 6 months to 3 years to fully clean up. Note that for the reasons given above rotavators and tillers must only be the last weed control method to consider, and then only for large plots.
Prevent Spreading Weed Seeds
Both annual and perennial weeds can spread by seed. Preventing weeds from setting seed makes a noticeable difference to the number of weed seedlings. Although some will be coming up for years to come, the intensity of weed infestation can decrease to near zero in settled areas not exposed to dispersed seeds.
You may notice that most of your weeds are the same few species. This happens because those few weeds are allowed to spread their seeds around them.
However, you should distinguish between the aggressive weeds of cultivated land and waste-places, and the natural flora which in time will form a settled landscape of meadow, scrub, or wood.
A settled landscape is tough on weeds. Wall to wall plants help to keep them out. The more you grow of what you like the less room for weeds. You should always have something growing.
So don't apply deadly weed killer to large areas of garden. Sterile weed-killed land stagnates. Even actively growing weeds are better than this for gardening.
The rule for good weed control is to keep the ground covered. Use ground cover plants, no-dig methods, plant instead of sowing directly, and use sheet mulch to control perennial weeds until they're gone.
And remember that by making your plot too clean and sterile you are exposing your plants to pests.
You'll find sheet mulch, and ground cover plants on the links below...