• Secrets for a weed free garden

    by  • March 15, 2013 • Garden, Sierra Foothills, Winter

    One year of seeds brings seven years of weeds!

    Three things will make your life easier when it comes to weeds in your garden…

    #1 Mulch

    I use mulch around the plants in my garden as a lazy way to manage weeds. After three years of mulching your garden, you’ll see that your weeding chores have lessened to a few minutes of hand weeding in Spring.

    Beds and paths are mulched to prevent weeds

    Beds and paths are mulched to prevent weeds

    Mulch can be leaves, mushroom compost, cedar chips, grass clippings (without weeds please), gravel, river rock or pine needles. Even a light cover of any of these will draw insects and worms to break up hard soil.  They cover the ground so weed seeds can’t sprout. Try finding free mulch!

    Plants are closely planted

    Plants are closely planted to smother weeds

    Compost piles are easy and a good source of mulch

    If you have a lawn or have any kind of mower clippings, you have a great start to a compost pile. This will give you a free source of mulch. Save grass clippings in an unused part of the yard. Initially, add a bad of manure to start breaking them down and add yard clippings, smaller the better. Add any vegetable kitchen scraps and coffee grounds, and make the pile at least 3 feet high and wide. You can cover this this a dark colored tarp to speed up the process.

    Give it a good soak every now and then, and now comes the fun part…turning the pile! Every 6 weeks or so, use a pitchfork or garden fork to get your exercise. Fork all the clippings into a pile next to the original, then turn it all back onto the same spot and hose it down. Keep adding to the pile and after a few months you’ll have rich crumbly compost down underneath the pile. I was so awestruck by the first shovelful of the lovely black stuff,…so fine textured. I use it around  any plants I feel need a boost and all my patio pots for mulch and fertilizer.

     

    #2 Cultivation

    A garden speaker at Roger’s Gardens gave us this tip. For a weed free garden, use a long handled cultivator to ruffle up the soil around your plants. Keep this tool nearby to remind you to do this often in the Spring.  Cultivated soil doesn’t allow seeds to germinate, including weeds!

    Cultivators are really effective and low tech,...good exercise!

    Cultivators are really effective and low tech,…good exercise!

     

    Compost is added and cultivated between plants

    Compost is added and weed seedlings are cultivated between plants

    #3 Vigilence

    Don’t let your weeds go to seed!

    Hedgeparsley stickers are really seeds

    Hedgeparsley stickers are really seeds

     

    Note on Noxious weeds:

    Everyone has a list of the very bad weeds in their gardens. Remember to dispose of these particularly nasty weeds in the trash barrel and get them off your property. They are the enemies of your garden.

    My list:  French Broom, Star Thistle, Klamath weed and Hedgeparsley

    About

    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.