It may be January, but it’s never too early to think about easy ways to keep weeds from invading your flowerbeds and vegetable garden!
Now that many gardeners are avoiding glyphosate-based herbicides due to health and environmental concerns, non-toxic weed control methods used by farmers of yesteryear are growing in popularity.
Control Weeds Without Harming Your Health and the Environment
It’s important to plan for a successful garden by leaving appropriate space between your new plants. Doing so will avoid overcrowding and give your plants room to grow, which reduces competition for resources and helps prevents weeds from becoming established.
Once you have your plants properly placed, use the following simple hacks that are cruel to weeds, but kind to your wallet. Plus, you’ll feel great knowing you’re using herbicidal techniques that are non-toxic and environmentally friendly!
Boiling Water – Pouring scalding hot water on small weeds is an eco-friendly way to kill them. Just be careful not to get any on your flower or vegetable plants because it will harm them, too.
Corn Gluten Meal – A natural byproduct of the corn milling process, corn gluten meal is a pre-emergent herbicide that prevents weed seeds from germinating. It’s also a spectacular fertilizer, so it will help your flowers and veggies grow big and strong. Simply apply it to your garden in the spring before weeds start to grow.
Essential Oils – Clove, cinnamon, orange, wintergreen, and citronella oils have weed-suppressing properties. Choose one or more of these essential oils and mix a few drops with water in a glass spray bottle, then saturate the weeds while avoiding getting the solution on the plants that you treasure.
Ground Covers – Planting dense ground covers such as creeping thyme and certain types of ground-covering succulents can outcompete weeds for sunlight and nutrients.
Newspaper and Cardboard – Create a barrier that blocks sunlight and inhibits weed growth by positioning layers of newspaper or cardboard around your plants and cover them with mulch.
The great thing about using this weed prevention hack is that the newspaper and cardboard break down into natural fertilizer after getting repeatedly wet from regular waterings. Just be sure to check your irrigation system every so often to make sure it’s working properly. If you’re not sure your system is running like it should, call us or complete our request service form and we’ll be happy to take a look.
Salt – Sprinkling salt directly on weeds is a sure-fire way to kill them. However, be cautious as salt will affect the soil and harm other plants. It’s best to use this weed prevention hack in areas where you don’t want any vegetation to grow such as around a container garden.
Vinegar Solution – Mix white vinegar with water (about a 1:1 ratio) and add a few drops of liquid dish soap. Spray this solution directly on small, annual weeds. The acetic acid in vinegar acts as a natural weed killer, but be careful because it will kill the plants you want to keep.
Enjoy a Weed Free Garden!
After treating the soil and early spring weeds with these simple weed prevention hacks, apply a layer of mulch to your garden.
While eco-friendly hacks will control most the weeds that want to take over your garden, you’ll still need to keep a close eye and prepare to do some regular maintenance. If you happen to spot any weeds popping up, try pulling them out by hand. For more stubborn weeds, use a gardening tool to work the ground and loosen their roots.
Last, but certainly not least, be extra careful about not overwatering your garden as this will only serve to promote weed growth.