Organic weed control is an integral part of organic gardening. If you want your garden to be truly chemical free, even weed management should abide with organic principles. After all, what chemicals you spray to control weeds is absorbed by the soil and eventually by your plants. There are a lot of alternatives to chemical weed management. However, if you will opt to buy organic weed control sprays, they may be more expensive than chemical-based sprays. But then, there are a lot of other things you can do for your garden without resorting to expensive methods. Here are some of them:
1. Weeding by hand
Weeding by hand is the simplest and the best form of organic weed control. This works especially well when your plants are close to each other. When you pull out weeds by hand, you do not have to worry about herbicides affecting your “real” plants or chemicals destroying the natural characteristics of the soil. Just be sure to remove the weeds before they develop strong roots making them difficult to pull by hand, and before they go to seed and start spreading.
Mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of an area of soil in order to conserve moisture, improve soil condition, and to prevent weeds from growing. Organic mulch is especially recommended for organic gardens. They are usually made of grass clippings, straw, shredded bark, and leaves – things that nurture the soil as they decompose. A thick layer of mulch is an effective method of organic weed control as this keeps the sunlight from reaching the soil and weeds underneath. And even if a few manage to do so, they are usually shallow-rooted and easy to pull by hand. You can also use shredded newspaper, cardboard, or Kraft paper as mulching materials.
3. Regular hoeing
Using tools like a good soil knife or a hoe can make your weeding chore easier. Hoes can either cut the foliage from the roots thus preventing the weeds from photosynthesizing or dislodge the smaller weeds so that their roots are exposed to sunlight and die. Using the correct methods and tools can make weeding an easy and for some even an enjoyable or therapeutic job.
Here is a hoeing tip that will save you from backache: grip the hoe as you would a broom and glide the sharp edges of the hoe blade through the top inch of the soil to quickly separate the shoots from its roots. That will make your hoeing job a lot easier.
4. Utilizing solar power
You can get rid of stubborn weeds by simply leaving the garden beds unplanted for at least six weeks during summer. Here is how you do it. Hoe, weed, and rake your garden beds in the early summer to remove as many of the weeds as you can. After that, moisten the soil and securely cover it with a clear plastic. Make sure to fasten the edges by burying or placing weights on top. Leave the plastic sheet in place for about six weeks allowing the sun to bake the weeds that would have then developed. This is known as solarization.
5. Corn gluten meal
Some gardeners attest to the effectiveness of corn gluten meal as an organic weed control. Corn gluten is a by-product of corn processing. This is usually used as livestock feed. However, farmers have found good use for corn gluten meal. When spread over the area where weeds are growing early in the season, corn gluten meal prevents the seeds from sprouting. However, this method should not be used when you have just sown your seeds because corn gluten may affect them as well. Corn gluten as an organic weed control is best used for permanent beds or well-developed lawns.
6. Crop rotation
Vary your crop rotations in order to keep a particular weed from thriving. When you do not plant the same kind of plants successively, you are also changing the habitat of the weeds.
Managing your weeds need to be done on a regular basis. Consistency is the key. Once you practice the techniques above regularly, it will get easier over time to manage your weed situation. Always remember that the bigger your weeds get, the harder it becomes to control them. A once-a-week organic weed control habit is advisable to keep your weed problem manageable.
Weed control in organic gardening is a necessity, but with a little extra effort and planning, you can easily using the harsh chemicals that can harm our health and the environment. Check out the posts below for more advice and information on how to control weeds in your organic garden.
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