Weeding is a given for any gardener, whether you have a flower pot on the back porch or a full-fledged vegetable and flower garden surround your property. Any plant can be classified a weed, if it overcrowds or is invasive in your garden.
I prefer to weed organically, pulling out as many weeds and unwanted plants as my body allows. My spouse prefers the pesticide method, walking around the yard and garden with spray bottle in hand. Whichever method you prefer, know how different sprays affect other plants (that you do want), and if they’re a health hazard to pets or human beings.
Mulching your garden space is the first step in proactive weed prevention. Adding a layer of mulch stops weeds before they even have a chance to grow. Mulch is material that is layered on the soil to lock in moisture and to stop weed growth. Most mulch is organic matter. Some gardeners use a mixture of shredded leaves, grass clippings, or bark. I prefer
Straw makes a wonderful mulch for strawberry beds and vegetable gardens. My favorite mulch for flower beds is shredded bark – it looks attractive and is effective at keeping the weeds at bay. For my vegetable garden, I prefer organic material from the compost pile. This helps to stop weeds and also gives the vegetables a soil boost.
You can use plastic sheeting placed in your gardens to inhibit weeds, but I’ve found this method problematic in the long run. After a few years of adding organic matter to enhance the soil, you’ve built up a deep layer of fertile soil for weeds to find there place in the garden once again.
Wear gloves as you weed. This saves wear and teat on the tender skin of you palms and fingers. It also protects you from nasty prickers and thorns.
Be sure to use good posture when you’re weeding. Don’t bend at the waist and pull up with all your might – your back will take a beating. Invest in a gardening knee pad or foam material. I have a portable gardening seat that stores my garden tools under the actual seat. I can carry it from spot to spot, and get to sit on sturdy canvas as I garden. Don’t over-exert your muscles by trying to do too much in one day — your body will thank you!
When you dispose of your weeds, keep them out of the compost pile, where weeds can germinate and spread into your precious compost material. I wouldn’t suggest burning them if there’s a chance that any poison ivy is present, which is harmful if the fumes are inhaled. I would bag them and dispose of them according to your city’s regulations.
If you’re not able to keep up with your weeding (or you’re not able to weed at all), considering hiring someone to weed for you. When my daughter was younger, she loved searching for specific weeds and yanking them out. Some kids like to be reimbursed in cold hard cash – some others (like my daughter) preferred her payment in ice cream sandwiches. You can also hire a child from the neighborhood, a grandchild, or friend of the family. For large gardens, or gardens with problem weeds, you might have to hire a professional. Shop around and get at least three quotes from local landscapers or lawn maintenance companies.