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best way to get rid of weeds and keep them from coming back

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Hi, this is my first year gardening, we have a plot at our local community gardens, everything is growing pretty well, especially the weeds. I am seriously overtaken with weeds that I just can't seem to make a small dent in the garden by hand weeding. Is there something I can do to make it easier than tackling each weed one pluck at a time, and is there a way to keep them from popping back up once I have been successful. I am thinking of laying hay or something to block the sun and kill them, would this help? Of course I am looking for an organic approach.

Any ideas are much appreciated, TIA.
post #2 of 29
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post #3 of 29
Plant more plants. The more you plant, the less space there is for weeds to grow.

Get a hula hoe and scrape the ground early in the season when weeds are small...you will end up with bare ground if done consistently.
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by janasmama View Post
Plant more plants. The more you plant, the less space there is for weeds to grow.

This is sooo true. It makes such a huge difference.

Also, I didn't grow up gardening-- I had noooo idea what a hoe was for (besides a cute gardening accesory). Last year trying to hand weed the flower beds (we didn't plant anything) was a nightmare.

This year, I figured out how to use a hoe to kind of uproot the weeds. The only stubborn ones are the ones with a tap root-- literally a carrot like root that anchors it into our clay soil. Those you have to bend over and pull up.

The rest you just hoe!
post #5 of 29
Using the hoe and rake has saved a lot of time for me too. You have to kind of use the corner of the hoe, though, to dig and uproot the little weeds. Dh had to show me this, as I am a city girl who thought you scraped the flat part of the hoe across the dirt... I didn't get very good results that way! :
post #6 of 29
We loaned our scuffle hoe to a fellow who said it was broken . It is not, I used it just the other day.

I suggest a scuffle hoe for weeding. I bought a good sturdy one for not much at a local hardware store. It does take some practice, but in no time you will get it .

I admit that for as much as I like the hoe... mostly, I do not weed. I pull the big ones that look like they are in the way or the ones that are flowering by hand and just leave them in the garden to smother the smaller ones. If it is a good clump of something like grass, it comes up really easily and you can just turn the whole clod over. Instant composting . Weeding by hand also gives me a chance to check out all the plants... see what suckers need pinching, if the beets are ready, if there are beetles on the tomatillos, that sort of thing.

I guess I have a pretty relaxed attitude about weeds. When I first started gardening, Dh would get all bent out of shape about the weeds and messy garden. If it really drives you mad, and you do not have a lot of time to weed, you can also try sheet mulching with newspaper or something like that.
post #7 of 29
I love my hollow hoe for big areas. I pull weeds by hand that spring up too close to plants, I wish I could use the hoe but I"m not THAT good with it

I also plant things close enough so that there isn't much light or room for weeds to establish themselves. It is easy to get lots of stuff in there if you companion plant. I like to plant an "under story" to tall plants such as corn and pole beans.

Also, I live by the old saying "a year of seeding is ten years of weeding" Don't allow weeds to go to seed in your garden.

I've also learned to try and not disturb the ground too much so that I'm not bringing otherwise dormant weed seeds up to the surface to germinate.

I mulch. A lot.

Even with all the steps I take, much of gardening is about weeding. Our garden is 5 years old this year and there is a LOT less that I have to weed now, but I still weed a lot! It gets a little better every year.
post #8 of 29
It occured to me that not everone will know what a "scuffle hoe" is after I read Erin's comment and have no idea what a hollow hoe is!

Here is a photo of the head of a scuffle hoe; hoe!
post #9 of 29
in addition to the suggestions above, mulching your paths will help a lot. we had been struggling with weeds and grass in our beds until we covered the paths with newspaper, weed barrier and gravel. i weeded the beds once at he beginning of the season and have been weed free since.

for mulch you could use straw, newspaper, cardboard...
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elastagirl View Post
Using the hoe and rake has saved a lot of time for me too. You have to kind of use the corner of the hoe, though, to dig and uproot the little weeds.
That's what I do. It works pretty well.
post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 
: Awesome imput, thanks, and keep it coming!!
post #12 of 29
I just learned that my "hollow" hoe is really a scuffle hoe!

Thanks serenetabbie I've always had my own name for it because I didn't know the real one! HA! Anyway yes, it is my FAVORITE TOOL!!
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenetabbie View Post
It occured to me that not everone will know what a "scuffle hoe" is after I read Erin's comment and have no idea what a hollow hoe is!

Here is a photo of the head of a scuffle hoe; hoe!
That's the same thing as a hula hoe! I bet it's called a hollow hoe too. I wonder if it has different names in different parts of the country.
post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 
so how do you work that hoe? Does it have teeth, how would you dig it in the ground? sorry if these are crazy questions, I am just confused as to how to make it work. new to it all...
post #15 of 29
I use it to skim the surface and cut weeds off at their roots. Depending on the ground (if it is wet and soft or dry and hard) I use it different ways. It makes quick work of big areas of smaller weeds. Any really big/tall established weeds still get pulled by hand.
post #16 of 29
I'm surprised no one mentioned landscaping fabric. I bought a roll at Costco for $35 and it's the best money spent!! I put it down before I planted my garden, and then covered it w/grass clippings. Any time weeds start to grow under the fabric, I just reach in & pull them out and throw them on top of the fabric (thus blocking the light & stopping future weeds). I've probably weeded a total of 30 mintues all summer.

I've also used it in all my flower gardens. Just add compost to the soil, cover in landscaping fabric (cut X shapes to plant flowers/plants), then cover w/mulch. Easy peasy, no weeds. It also works great to keep the soil nice & moist.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ctdoula View Post
I'm surprised no one mentioned landscaping fabric.
I've seen this fabric a few times in different gardens and landscapes and it was always breaking down and coming up in pieces and just seemed like garbage to me eventually. This was years ago so maybe the products are better now and last longer. I used to always pull it up whenever I found it. And it was a pain. IMO.
post #18 of 29
adding my 2 cents...

I have great results with organic mulch. there are two reasons organic mulch is much better than landscaping fabric. 1) it's free or near free. I use grass clippings, chopped leaves directly on the ground in really thick layers. This brings us to reason #2) organic mulch builds the soil where as landscaping fabric on compresses it. In a veggie garden, you want loose, rich, black soil not hard dirt.

In the paths, I might lay down newspaper (actually, flattned cereal boxes work great!) under the mulch but that still breaks down and works the soil. Landscaping fabric doesn't encourage earthworm activity but worms love wet paper and really get busy turning crappy dirt in to fab soil.

I think that was more like five cents...

p.s pictures of my garden can be found at www.xanga.com/simplespirit if any of you would like to stop by...
post #19 of 29
My landscaping fabric is not at all compressing the soil & definatly not falling apart. In fact, my neighbor is on his 2nd year using the same pieces (and they looked new when he put them out this year). I am not planning to just leave it there forever. After the frost, I'll pull it up, fold it away for next year. Then, all the mulch that I've put down all summer (grass clippings & weeds pulled) will be composted in. This stuff that I'm using lets air and water right through, just keeps the monster weeds from taking over.
post #20 of 29
I guess those hoes do have different names in different parts of the country! I am glad to have learned them, so when other people mention them now I will know what the heck they are talking about .

As for landscaping fabric... yeah... I am a little prejudiced against it I guess. I hate the stuff. It has taken me years to get it all out of my flower beds and every time I dig another bit up I curse it. I would rather weed than spend the money on that personally, but I do know a lot of people seem to like it. Different strokes and all that...
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