Ways to Weed

In a vegetable garden, weeds are definitely plants in the wrong place, competing with crops for water, nutrients and light, as well as harboring pests and diseases that could spread to crops.
From: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Vegetable Gardening

Related To:

  1. Plants
  2. Weeds
  3. Gardening

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Vegetable Gardening ©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Weed Control

Regular weeding should have all but the wildest sites under control surprisingly quickly and, after a few years, maintenance should be easy. Tackling the work in small sections can help to make it more manageable, too.

Gardeners who prefer not to use chemical herbicides quickly become skilled at weeding with a fork and hoe. The hoe is ideal for clearing larger areas of annual weed seedlings, while a fork is best for uprooting every fragment of pernicious perennial weeds. A hand fork is useful for weeding in between crops.

You'll be weeding in no time.

Suppressing Weed Growth

Weeds are opportunists that thrive on bare soil, which is difficult to avoid after harvest and when seeds are newly sown. Covering or filling the soil, though, makes it difficult for weeds to grow. Landscape fabric or black plastic over the soil blocks out light, limiting weed growth, and crops can be planted in holes cut through it.

Adding Mulch

An organic mulch of straw suppresses weed growth and also looks attractive. A layer of mulch around young plants also helps fill gaps between rows with fast-maturing crops like lettuce, or scrambling plants, such as nasturtiums, leaving less space for weeds.

Hoeing

Control flushes of annual weeds by pushing a hoe through the top of the soil to sever them from their roots. Shallow hoeing stops more weed seeds being brought to the surface and minimizes moisture loss from the soil. Hoe frequently between rows of germinated seedlings.

Chemical Controls

Where perennial weeds are a problem, you can use a systemic herbicide that is transferred from the leaves to the roots, killing the whole plant. Apply on a still day and cover up nearby crops with plastic sheeting. Place the weeds on the plastic and spray.

Hand Weeding

Regular weeding with a hand fork is the best way to keep soil clear around established plants and catch perennial weeds, like this creeping buttercup, while they are still small. Don't leave pulled weeds on the soil, where they may re-root in damp weather or disperse seed.

Tackling Perennial Weeds

These weeds are eradicated only by meticulous digging to remove every last scrap of their spreading roots and runners, or by applying a systemic herbicide. Don't add the weeds to your compost pile or you may spread them back onto your soil.