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Controlling Weeds in Your Organic Garden

Weeds... the bane of every gardener's existence! Not only do they make for sad-looking photos of your vegetable garden that you don't want to share on Facebook, but they're also detrimental to the health of your plants. 

Weeds seem like they're built for survival, don't they? (There's probably even some science to back this up.) After a rainy summer when your precious veggies are yellowing, or beetles have laid waste to your tomato plants.... there are those weeds, healthy as ever, just daring you to do something about it.

Unfortunately, there is no "easy" method of controlling weeds in your organic garden. But even someone who sprays chemical fertilizers probably would draw the line at those chemical-based weed killing formulas coming too close to the food they eat.

Below, some options for preventing weeds from taking over your organic garden.

Improve the condition of your soil. Weeds seem to take over when the soil lacks nutrition to benefit your garden veggie plants. Add compost, or supplement the existing soil by mixing in a layer of rich, fertile, organic soil from your local nursery. If you already keep a compost heap or compost bin, you can fill a wheelbarrow full of ready-to-use organic compost, and spread it around your plants.

Plant cover crops. Cover crops are like living compost, in a way. They inhibit weed growth, hold the soil in place to prevent runoff, attract beneficial insects, and increase nitrogen levels in the soil. Some popular cover crops include rye, red clover, alfalfa and hairy vetch. It's common to establish crops by the end of the gardening season so they'll overwinter. Then, in spring, you can turn over the soil, and the decaying cover crops with it. Here's a fascinating article that covers cover crops in more detail.

Spray weeds directly, using a vinegar solution. Unfortunately, in the case of the vegetable garden, if you spray vinegar too close to your plants, you'll kill them also. So it's better to err on the side of caution, even with natural weed control methods such as this.

Just pull them. Sad, but the tried-and-true method of limiting weed growth in your garden is to be proactive about pulling them out. In addition to this, take care to remove the pulled weeds from your garden bed area. And whatever you do, don't toss the weed waste into your compost bed. Otherwise, those weed seeds will go to town making babies who'll show up all over your garden next spring.

A final word about weeds, especially if you use chemical based weed control formulas on your landscaping and other parts of your yard. Weeds are able to quickly evolve into herbicide-resistant pests, thus requiring even stronger means of control. This is something to think about as we consider the types of chemicals we use in and around our homes, which may impact the health of our children.

 

 


GardenBedsNJ.com is owned by Mike Hyde and 4 Seasons Lawn Care. We build, deliver and install raised garden beds to Hunterdon and Warren Counties in NJ and Northampton County, PA.

Contact us for more information: 908 783 5733 or email mikehyde@4seasonslawns.com today!

 

 

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