Weed free garden secrets! Every year, just as garden season begins to heat up, the questions start rolling in.
How can I keep weeds from overtaking my vegetable garden?
What can I do to cut down on my weeding chores?
What is the best way to eliminate weeds from my flowerbeds?
One after another, frustrated gardeners from all over the world send in their questions, wanting to know the magical answer to winning the war vs. weeds.
Weeds can turn a gorgeous garden into an eyesore in just a few weeks.
Not only do they create an untidy appearance, they also choke the life out of your plants.
Weeds compete for the same vital resources (water, nutrients, light and oxygen) that vegetable plants, flowers, trees, shrubs and bushes do.
And when allowed to take hold, they can keep yields and plant health down, and a gardener’s frustration level high!
But by simply following the few simple tips below, you really can have a weed free garden.
Without a lot of work, without a lot expense, and certainly without a lot of frustration.
3 Big Weed Free Garden Secrets
# Stop Tilling, Hoeing and Digging So Much
Many of the weeding problems faced by gardeners result from overworking the soil.
There are a host of weed seeds sitting on top of the soil. All are just waiting for a chance to be “planted” below.
Every time you till, hoe or dig into the soil – you are planting your next crop of weeds.
When a garden is completely tilled in the spring – a huge crop of weed seeds are planted.
The same goes for running a tiller or hoeing by hand during the growing season to get rid of weeds.
The majority of those weeds are there in the first place from the very first tilling, and will only continue to multiply as more soil is turned over.
It becomes a never-ending cycle of tilling and hoeing to eliminate the newly sprouted weeds planted from the previous tilling or hoeing.
As you will see in secret #2 – there is a much better and easier solution!
#2 Avoiding Bare Soil
Bare soil equals weeds – and lots of them.
Keeping a weed free garden begins with keeping weed seeds from ever finding a permanent home in the soil.
And that means using mulch. Mulch eliminates the need from ever having to use a rototiller in your garden again!
Bare soil allows blowing and drifting weed seeds to find a home. But when you use mulch to protect the soil, you keep those future weed seeds from ever becoming established.
A heavy layer of mulch also suppresses existing weeds and weed seeds already in the soil, and helps insulate and protect the “good” plants
We use a combination of mulch in our vegetable garden to keep soil covered year round.
In our walking rows we use a heavy 4 to 6″ layer of shredded bark. In the growing rows, we use a 2 to 4″ combination of straw and shredded leaves.
And from late fall to early spring, we use cover crops to keep the soil protected.
That combination has led to fewer and fewer weeds every year, and minimal maintenance.
This “total” covering of bare soil all but eliminates weeds from ever becoming established, and makes maintaining the space simple.
In fact, these days, we spend less than 5 minutes a day in our garden keeping weeds under control.
And trust me when I say that keeps the fun in gardening!
#3 A Consistent Approach
And finally, one of the most important weed free garden secrets of all – a consistent approach!
Just as in life, if you let things get ahead of you, problems can multiply quickly. The same goes for the garden and weeds.
If you truly want a weed-free garden, a consistent approach is a must.
A simple 5 to 10 minute a day stroll through your garden or flowerbeds will make all the difference when it comes to great weed control.
Remember that spending 70 minutes once a week in the garden is not the same as spending 10 minutes each and every day.
Weeds and the problems they cause multiply at a fast rate when left for days on end. Stay consistent, and stay ahead!
From cover crops, to mulch and organic solutions to spraying weeds, be sure to check out our Eliminating Weeds page for all of our articles on how to keep a weed free garden.
Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary To receive our 3 Home, Garden, Recipe and Simple Life articles each week, sign up for our free email list.