It’s all about the weeds!
Weeds in the TGW garden is one of the never-ending problems we have. I hear the same complaint from guests at every program I give. The best solution I have learned through my years as a commercial cut flower grower is that preventing the weeds from ever starting is the easiest weed control.
Although I don’t always come through each year in all areas of my gardens, I do try to practice prevention in more areas than not. When I say prevention I am not speaking of any chemical products. Stay with me here—I think you will find this very interesting.
There is bad news and good news about weeds. First the bad news: you will never run out of weeds seeds. Each shovel full of soil as far down as you can dig is full of weed seeds; they are just sitting out there waiting for you. Each time you turn over soil or pull a weed with deep roots you bring a new crop of weed seeds to the surface and give them exactly what they have been waiting for: air, light and water.
I am going to share with you how we stop them before they can start- the easiest way.
Just imagine you’re going to plant some new plants, you have prepared the planting spots (see our preparing soil segment) and you plant them all. Your plants are in the ground, you’re pooped, and would really like to do something else now. So you figure you’re going to mulch next Saturday after your honey picks up some mulch later this week. Well- what happens during that lag of time between planting and mulching is that thousands of little weed seeds begin to sprout. By the time you mulch next Saturday they are strong and old enough to push right through the mulch.
Consider this: if you had planted in the morning and spent the afternoon mulching, you would have prevented almost all of those weed seeds from even sprouting! How’s that for easy- just do they same job you were already going to do in a timely manner and you will reap the benefits all season.
If you have a lot of planting to do, plant and mulch as you go along.
Another great tip is to use wet newspaper under your mulch. This really seals the deal on keeping weed seeds from sprouting. Have your stack of black and white newspaper sheets, folded open, a wheel barrow half full of water, submerge the stack of papers (this little tips keeps you from papering your neighborhood and I am speaking from experience!) taking 5 to 9 sheets at a time, lay down on the bed overlapping each other a few inches, apply 2-4” of mulch as you go to keep the papers from blowing away. The newspaper is bio-degradable, is free and most importantly is all so easy to plant thru.
I also have tips for planting a large area with small plant. Prepare the soil, apply the wet newspaper, top with much and then punch holes thru the mulch and paper with a dibber tool to plant. This makes quick and easy work of planting and also eliminates accidental smashing little plants with mulch.
I hope this will help you prevent weeds from getting a start in your garden. I don’t know about you, but we don’t have time for weeds!
Garden because it is good for you and your family!