No one ever wants to see weeds in their garden. It’s time-consuming to sit on your knees and weed all the time. However, there are many great methods for getting rid of those pesky plants.
Learning how to clear a garden full of weeds is easy. Though it takes a bit of work, you’re going to find that life is easier when they’re gone. Here are 10 ways to get rid of those pesky weeds:
Table of Contents
1. No-Till Method
Most gardeners get weeds because they over-till the garden. Plants need plenty of light to grow, so you can’t cover them with materials. Every inch of the garden contains plenty of weed seeds.
However, only those at the 1- to 2- inch level get enough light for germination. When you dig in the garden, you bring forth more seeds.
It’s best not to till at all, but there are times where this isn’t feasible. If you do have to till the ground, cover the tilled areas with a plastic tarp. That way, you kill any weeds that you brought to the surface.
2. Add Mulch
You can lay down a bed of mulch to offset weed growth. There are plenty of options, such as:
- Wood chips
- Grass clippings
- Pine needles
Make sure that the layers are thick. While this keeps weeds away, it also helps the soil retain moisture, moderates the temperature, and more. In fact, you can prevent water evaporation and prevent fungal growth.
As a bonus, the mulch is natural compost and adds nutrients to the soil. However, you should be careful about the mulch you choose as some can have herbicides on them. Choose organic mulch whenever possible.
Though your plants can’t read, newspapers can be a big help to get rid of weeds from the garden. Add a thick layer of newspaper right on top of the soil. You should also use mulch to keep the newspapers from flying away.
Prepare the beds, put on some compost, and soak the soil first. Then, lay the newspapers down and add mulch on top. Plants get enough water, but weed seeds can’t grow.
Now, you can tear small holes in the newspaper to put your seeds or plants. Most of the newspaper decomposes with time, but this is also a good thing!
Just like newspapers, cardboard can act as a weed barrier. It’s highly effective for stopping weeds naturally. However, it’s not as easy to use as newspaper because you’ve got to cut holes in it to plant the seeds.
Also, cardboard doesn’t let the water get to the plants easily. However, if you’ve planned your garden for walkways, it’s a great barrier there. Add a touch of mulch to the top to keep it in place, and you’re good to go!
There are two other reasons to consider cardboard. For one, fungi and earthworms are going to live underneath and help the soil. Plus, mulch cardboard is allowed for organic gardens!
Your plants aren’t going to like vinegar, so you must be careful. However, if you put it in a spray bottle and only put it on the weeds, they are going to die. The advantage here is that the root is also killed.
However, you may need to reapply the vinegar solution a few times if the weeds are persistent or strong. Just make sure that you don’t get it on the plants you want because vinegar can kill anything.
Ultimately, vinegar works better in bright sunlight. The leaves become dehydrated in the sun and kill the weed.
6. Boiling Water
Similar to vinegar, boiling water can kill weeds. You just pour it on the pesky plant, which ultimately cooks it. Again, you must be very careful that you don’t get the boiling water on the vegetables you want.
Everyone knows that fire kills plants. However, there is a way to target only the weeds in your garden instead of them all. Use a propane torch to put the fire where you want it.
Many of the products out there have nozzles to get the fire to the right place. Plus, you don’t have to bend over all the time.
Alternatively, you can prepare your garden like always. Water it, add fertilizer and plant the seeds. Before anything starts growing, use the flame weeder over the entire space to get rid of any weeds and promote your new seedlings.
If you go with fire, make sure that you water the entire area well. That way, you don’t set the backyard afire. Alternatively, you can keep a hose by you to put out wayward flames.
8. Eat the Weeds
It may sound silly, but many weeds can be consumed. Dandelion weeds have a lot of health benefits, so make a tea or grind them up to put on salads. Alternatively, you can feed them to chickens, ducks, and worms.
If you’ve got an organic garden, you don’t have to worry about pesticides or herbicides, even for the weeds. Most weeds taste better when they’re young. They include:
- Yellow dock
- Lambs quarters
- Wood sorrel
Make sure that you know what’s safe to eat. If you’re unsure, please don’t consume them.
Before or after the growing season, put black plastic on the prepared beds. Make sure they’re thoroughly watered first. The plastic keeps out sunlight so that the water steams.
All of the weeds inside end up dying, and so do the seeds. Also, solarizing can kill various diseases and fungi. In fact, it’s a highly effective method of weed control for gardeners.
Though clear plastic can work, it’s best to go with black plastic. That way, you get rid of the weeds and keep the nematodes, too.
It’s best to use a tarp and cover the garden for a full 30 days or more. If you do that before you plant, it kills many of the weeds.
10. Cover Cropping
When you aren’t growing vegetables in the garden, you can give it a break. Cover the soil to put the nutrients back that the plants used. Do that with a cover crop.
Cover crops are plants that you grow and don’t need to harvest. You simply cut it off and let it stay there where it is. That way, it turns to mulch in the garden bed, though you can till it to decompose and feed the soil.
Make sure that you cut/till the cover crop before it turns to seed. Otherwise, it could be just as bad as the weeds that aggravate you now. Another option here is to let the ducks or chickens eat it to provide more fertilizer for the vegetable garden.
Buckwheat, sorghum, and millet are excellent cover crops for hot weather. In cool climates, you can go with mustard, winter wheat, tillage radish, crimson clover, or Austrian peas.
Bonus – Pull the Weeds by Hand
If your garden isn’t chock-full of weeds yet, you can always pull them out of the ground by hand. It does take a long time, but having a garden is a labor of love. You can also use the weeding time to find out about fungi, diseases, and pests that might be bothering the plants.
After Growing Season
When the growing season is over, you should clean and mulch the garden. It shouldn’t stay bare throughout the winter.
If it does, that’s going to deplete the soil and cause more weeds to germinate. Plus, if you clean it up, the garden is ready for the next season.
Organic weed control is possible, though it takes a bit of effort at the beginning. However, it’s going to make the garden a beautiful place. Plus, it’s going to be safer for you to grow the food you love most.
Here are a few simple steps to help you weed your garden:
- Have a plan on how to eliminate weeds before they pop up.
- Don’t wait to start weeding; pull them when they’re small or use one of the methods mentioned earlier.
- Use damp soil before you weed to make it easier on you.
- Remove the entire root to ensure that they don’t come back.
- Use the right tools to make it easier on yourself.
- Don’t put the pulled weeds into the compost bin, or they could germinate there.
All gardens have weeds here and there. It’s nearly impossible to have a weed-free garden. However, if you take control and are persistent, there can be fewer weeds with time.
That way, you’re growing your vegetables and have beautiful plants without the annoyance of weeds. You’ve learned how to clear a garden full of weeds today. These 10 methods can work for any gardener in any location.
The one you choose is going to be based on your needs and preferences. In fact, it might be good to try a few methods. That way, you know what works best and can use the same ones over and over.
Enjoy the bounty instead of being aggravated by the weeds. Here’s to a great growing season!