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 weekend after your
honey picks up some mulch 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 the same job you were
already going to do in a timely manner and you will reap the benefits all
If you have a lot of planting to do, plant and mulch as you
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 tip 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 plants.
Prepare the soil, apply the wet newspaper, top with much and then punch holes
thru the mulch and paper with a dibber 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!
And check out the TGW Tools in the Garden segment for more
weed control tips and I demonstrate how to get weeds out quick and easy with my
favorite tools that have snuck into my garden!
Garden because it is good for you and your family!
The Field and Garden Podcast is produced by Lisa Mason Ziegler, award-winning author of Vegetables Love Flowers and Cool Flowers, owner of The Gardener’s Workshop, Flower Farming School Online, and the publisher of Farmer-Florist School Online and Florist School Online. Watch Lisa’s Story and connect with Lisa on social media!