How to eradicate weeds from the garden and make gardening fun…

“Can you please tell me how to stop weeds from overtaking my garden!” Every garden season, that is the question that arrives in our inbox almost daily.

eradicate weeds
Keeping a weed free garden is possible!

Weeds can be a frustrating enemy of the vegetable gardener. Not only can they make the garden look unsightly, but they wreak havoc on the health of vegetable plants. Weeds compete for the same nutrients and water vegetable plants need for healthy growth. 

The real question is how can it be done without spending hour upon hour of backbreaking effort weeding the garden.

Well, first off – it can be. And surprising as it may seem, it can be done quite easily! How? By following a few simple practices that keep weeds from ever becoming established in the first place. 

The 3 Keys To Eradicate Weeds From Overtaking The Garden

#1 Stop Disturbing The Soil

That’s right. Amazing as it may sound, doing a little less can go a long way in in helping to eradicate weeds.

The single, most effective way to stop weeds from taking over your garden is to stop tilling, hoeing, raking and working your soil so much. 

eradicate weeds
Mulch is the key to eliminate and eradicate garden weeds

Every time the soil is disturbed, hundreds, if not thousands of weed seeds are replanted. No matter what we as gardeners do, weed seeds will always find a way into the garden. Whether from drifting in from the wind, or from birds and other wildlife replanting them as they visit. 

The key is to never help those weeds get established.

Tilling and hoeing the entire garden simply takes all of the weed seeds laying on the surface, where they may never germinate, and plants them into the soil.  Tilling is actually a prime reason that weeds continue to multiply. The less you disturb your soil, the less weeds you will have!

 #2 Mulch Like You Have Never Mulched Before

Mulch is and will always be the answer to a simple, low maintenance, weed-free garden. Never, ever, leave soil bare.

Instead of tilling and hoeing, use mulch to suppress and keep weeds from ever becoming established. Not only does it eliminate hours of work, it actually is more helpful to the health of your garden.

To keep costs at a minimum, you can use different mulches in different areas.

We use a heavy 4″ to 6″ layer of shredded bark / wood chips in all of the walking rows of our garden. It is an inexpensive by-product of local sawmills and tree trimmers. It can usually be sourced locally for as little as $20 a truckload, or even free from local tree trimmers and landscapers.

Wood mulch breaks down slowly and keeps weeds completely out of the walking rows of our garden. It makes it completely unnecessary to maintain any of the walking row areas of your garden by tilling or hoeing. That cuts your weeding chores in half right off the bat! We reapply as needed in our walking rows to keep them completely weed free.

In the growing rows, we use a combination of shredded leaves, straw and compost right up around plants. It suppresses weeds seeds from ever becoming established, and also gives back valuable nutrients to the soil as it decomposes. Use at least a two-inch to 3″ thick layer to be effective, and reapply as necessary. 

See : How To Use Mulch In The Garden

#3 Cover Crop In The Fall

This fall, as your garden season comes to a close, plant a cover crop. They are the most incredible, inexpensive, weed-stopping crop in the world. Our favorite is annual rye, which grows thick and green, and fast!

Cover crops help eradicate weeds by protecting bare soil over the late fall, winter and early spring months.  They form a thick, lush barrier that keeps blowing seeds from ever finding their way into the soil. They also build tremendous vitality into your growing rows.

In the Spring, we simply mow our annual rye cover crop off a few times until it dies back. Then, we just plant right through the crop. Talk about simple and effective!

After a season or two of cover crops, you will be amazed how little weeds actually even appear in your garden. You can find more about cover crops here : Cover Crops In Your Garden. 

#4 Walk Your Garden Every Day!

One of the biggest secrets to maintaining a weed free garden is spending a little time in the garden every day! The key is realizing that 10 minutes of daily work is not the same as spending 70 minutes once a week in the garden.

Letting the garden go for more than a day or two lets weeds and the problems they bring multiply and magnify.  Roots get deeper, weeds spread and multiply, and the garden becomes a jungle. What would take 10 minutes a day to maintain can take 8 hours when it has been neglected for a week or two.  Spending just a little time in the garden every day can pay off huge!

Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary! If you would like to receive our DIY, Gardening and Recipe articles each week, sign up via email at the very bottom of the post You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram to receive all of our latest tips and articles. This article may contain affiliate links.


9 thoughts on “How To Eradicate Weeds From Overtaking Your Garden. Make Gardening Easy!

  • June 9, 2017 at 7:19 pm
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    With your straw mulch right up around the plants, have you ever had trouble with slugs? If not, how does one avoid this?
    I was excited to try a deep straw mulch all over the entire garden area for the first time this year. I transplanted the small pepper plants we started indoors into the deep straw mulch and the next morning came out to find every plant almost nibbled to nothing – all the leaves eaten. I believe slugs have eaten them, slugs which were attracted by the moisture retained in the soil by the deep straw mulch.
    I’m so discouraged by this! Any insight would be much appreciated! Thank you!

    Reply
    • June 9, 2017 at 9:20 pm
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      I save all my eggshells all year round, let them dry out and then pulverize them in a food processor. Lay a ring of the shells around the plant. Slugs will not cross the shells as they cut into their bodies.

      Reply
  • June 6, 2017 at 12:18 pm
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    Can you talk some about the fencing you have around your garden?
    What type?
    How you installed it?

    Reply
  • June 4, 2017 at 4:55 pm
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    We have Bermuda grass taking over. We have done all you mentioned, including plastic cover in the winter that should kill anything. Any suggestions? We don’t want to use chemicals. Even the state extension people can’t help. Boy does Bermuda grass like worm castings!

    Reply
    • June 6, 2017 at 2:30 am
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      I have an article from the newspaper that I found. The Cable Natural History Museum is experimenting with Dutch Clover to try to get rid of Quack grass. My boyfriend has a problem with quack grass wanting to take over everything. Here is what they said. Dutch clover is a native of Europe and Asia. Dutch clover covers an area quickly and can crowd out other weeds. It also creates its own food by fixing nitrogen in the soil. Bacteria in nodules on the roots produce nitrogen that help the plant grow, and when the plant dies, this nitrogen is released into the soil, nourishing the neighbors. Clover seeds were sown in the garden pathways to crowd out quack grass. They go on to say only time will tell who shall reap victory. You can call the Cable, WI Natural History Museum and see how their experiment did. The article was written by Elsa Hansen/Naturalist, Curator. Sorry I don’t have a phone number for you. I wish you luck. God Bless your family.

      Reply
    • June 8, 2017 at 9:23 pm
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      In the paths I use cardboard and cover the cardboard with wood chips. When putting down the cardboard, I use a double layer of cardboard and overlap them then cover the cardboard with 2 or more inches of wood chips that I have been able to get for free from the local utility company. I use cardboard covered with dried grass in the watermelon bed.
      I use multiple sheets of newspaper covered with dried grass in the tomato and pepper beds. In the areas that I use newspaper, I lay branches to help hold the paper in place because I live in a high wind area. I am forever trying to combat the grass and weeds but each year it is getting better. The chore of laying out the cardboard and newspaper in the Spring is tedious but it makes the weeding during the heat of the Summer much easier.

      Reply
    • June 9, 2017 at 8:17 am
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      Yes! Either lay a layer of cardboard or a super thick layer of newspapers – then put the mulch (wood chips, straw, leaves, whatever) on top of the board/ papers. This will really block all chances of life bursting forth. Has worked for me for years.

      You can go on vacation for weeks & come back to no(or very few) weeds in the garden.

      Reply
  • June 4, 2017 at 10:59 am
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    What do you do about newly seeded areas. For example, i planted carrots, beets, turnips etc and before they can even sprout the weeds are up. I keeps cutting them back or pulling them while they are little but it is labor intensive. I can’t mulch over the seeds or they may not come up, right?

    Reply
  • June 4, 2017 at 10:38 am
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    can cover crops be planted in the raised beds? or should the crop be planted over the entire garden, walking rows and all?

    Reply

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