How to Grow: Organic Weed Control

Learn about controlling weeds and caring for your vegetable and flower garden. This podcast and video includes information on organic sprays, tools, and the best weeding techniques. For more garden videos, check out the National Gardening Association

Learn about organic weed control including information on sprays and cultivating techniques.

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Ben Franklin once said, “A man of words and not of deeds, is like a garden full of weeds.” Yes, with all the rain lately, weeds are having a hay day! Controlling them can be the bane of a gardener’s existence and often the reason novice gardeners throw in the hoe and head for the beach come summer. So let’s talk about some organic weed control methods. The first defense against weeds is to prevent them. Last year we used burlap sacks to mulch our pathways and garden edges. You can just leave the bags to enjoy the colored pictures and writings, or cover them with straw or hay. Yes, hay will have more weed seeds than straw, but it’s much cheaper and available. I find if I thickly apply the hay, weeds aren’t an issue. A young woman pulls large overgrown weeds Another prevention method is to plant warm season veggies such as peppers, eggplant, and melons in plastic mulch. It keeps the weeds away and soil moist and warm. Save the organic mulches for cool season veggies and flowers such as snapdragons, broccoli and lettuce. For those not mulch inclined, hand weeding is the next best option. The key is to weed frequently and shallowly. Use a small bladed hoe, such as a stirrup hoe, and gently cut the young weeds as they germinate at the soil line. Avoid deep hoeing or you’ll bring up more weed seed from deeper in the soil. Hoeing and hand weeding often will keep the weeds away until your plants get big enough to shade them out. Control weeds on patios or along walkways with commercial products containing citrus and clove oil. They may have to be reapplied for tough weeds. Finally, eat your weeds. Lamb’s quarters, pigweed, purslane, and dandelions are all edible, tasty and nutrition. I actually grow some of these intentionally as food. From the Vermont Garden Journal.

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