Lynn has been a professional organic farmer for the last 35 years and runs a 210-acre farm in Western Colorado with her husband.
Tips for Easy and Effective Weed Control
Do you struggle with weeds in your garden? By midsummer, could you lose a small car in it because the weeds are so big? Do you give up on it every year because the weeds take over? If you said yes to any of these questions, then you are in for a treat.
I've been a professional organic farmer for 35 years, and I'm going to teach you how to have a weed-free garden. Weeds are probably the number-one thing that stops people from gardening, and after a few seasons of weeding, I don't blame people for quitting!
Make Gardening Fun Again
I started out in a traditional row garden, and by midsummer, I could lose a small car in the weeds. I remember just walking away by August and then promising myself that it would be different next year. Finally, I got smart and learned these four easy steps to having a weed-free garden.
4 Steps to a Weed-Free Garden
Here are the four steps that I take to keep the garden weed-free. Now my gardens are a joy to work in—production is high and I can grow food all the way to the end of the season without losing the plants (or any cars!) to the weeds.
1. Start in a Raised Bed With Fresh Soil
All soil has a certain amount of weed seeds in it, and when you start a garden in native soil, you inherit whatever weed seeds are in that soil. This is why in-the-ground beds become so weedy—you're losing the game before you even start.
If you build a new raised bed and put an amended, blended soil mix in it, you can start with no or few weed seeds. A few weed seeds may blow into the garden on the wind and a few may come from the irrigation water, but I just remove any weeds before they go to seed. (I figure that any weed goes to seed in my garden will add 100 new weeds next year!)
Having a low weed-seed bank really cuts down on the hours of work I need to put in to grow my garden.
2. Mulch the Garden
By keeping the garden mulched, if you do get any weed seeds in the garden, most of them will not germinate through the mulch. My favorite mulch is grass clippings.
I put them on about an inch thick and then add another inch about 10 days later. This forms a nice, thick mat that keeps most of the weed seeds from germinating, and as a bonus, it cuts down my watering by about half.
3. Use Weed Barrier
I like to put weed barrier under my raised beds to keep the grasses and the perennial weeds from coming up underneath the garden. Grasses can be really tough to eliminate once they get a hold, so prevention is the best method.
4. Keep Aisles Free of Weeds and Grass
Grasses and other weeds can creep into your raised beds if they are allowed to grow around the beds. I like to trim the aisles around the beds with a weed whacker and then use coarse salt in the aisles to help burn the grasses off so they don't invade the garden.
Moving from native ground into raised beds with a weed barrier and a blended soil mix really changed my gardening life. If you do the same and add just a little bit of maintenance, you can prevent hours and hours of labor and keep your weed-seed bank low so that your future gardens are weed-free too.
So this will keep the garden easy and fun, and that's what we're looking for!
Do I Need to Put Weed Barrier in My Raised Beds?
5 Organic Garden Mulch Options
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Lynn Gillespie
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 08, 2021:
Those weed barriers can really help keep weeds at bay. I use them around shrubbery as well.