Weeds, Weeds, Weeds!

Weeds are said to be anything that is growing where you don’t want it. There are all kinds of weeds taking over a ton of places I don’t want them in our garden. We have tried everything we can think of to cut down on weeding, but it seems like weeds are overtaking every area of the yard. We are fighting Johnson grass, wild blackberry vines, and thousands of strands of BERMUDA GRASS! The kids will pick a few weeds, but they tire of it quickly, especially the younger ones. What’s a girl to do? I refuse to give in and use round up or any other toxic chemicals to control my weeds. I would rather let them overtake everything. Round up has been found in our food supply in alarming amounts and is believed to be a cause for many health problems including Parkinson’s disease, infertility, and some cancers.
We need to keep the weeds to a minimum in the garden because they can shade out our desirable plants, choke out their space to grow roots, and rob them of moisture and nutrients. Most weeds are very resilient, that’s how they survive. While our produce plants have to be cultivated and cared for in order to find success.
There are a few things that can help cut down on the amount of time you spend weeding:
Landscape fabric or plastic makes a barrier on top of your soil that can help prevent weeds from growing in areas you don’t want them.
Multiple layers of cardboard or newspaper can have the same effect.
Making your own spray of full strength vinegar and a few teaspoons of dish washing liquid can burn your weeds with acidity.
Pulling weeds by hand is the safest way to control them. Make sure you pull them before they set their seed heads, which will multiply your problems. Also try to get the roots out intact so they will not grow back on the root. Try to pull the weeds when they are small and have not yet established a strong root system.
Mulching around your plants when they are 4-5 inches tall with straw (not hay), leaves, grass clippings, wood chips, or other materials can help your garden retain moisture as well as smother out any weeds that try to germinate. Hay contains seeds so it can be counterproductive.
Using a hoe or other tool to kill weeds can be an effective way to reduce weeds without as much bending which can be hard on your back. Also, you can use these tools to scrape along your driveway or sidewalks to kill weeds growing up in the cracks.
Avoid using compost that may contain weed seeds in it. Make sure if you are bringing in soil, that it does not contain weed seeds.
Learn to like the process, because weeding is not going anywhere. Weeding a small area often will save you from having a giant area to weed that can be overwhelming. The other day my friend Christina came to take a tour of our gardens. I was complaining to her about the overwhelming number of weeds in the garden and she said, you’re not going to be able to have it perfect with NO weeds. She was so right. Being a perfectionist, many times I forget that nothing in the garden will ever be perfect. I was grateful that she reminded me of it that day. It’s best to learn that a few weeds in the garden is okay.
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