If you don't get out there and pull the weeds now, your summer garden will be filled with more than roses and raspberries. It takes persistence and work - there's no quick fix - but you can rid your garden of interlopers efficiently and organically by consistently following these simple strategies:
- Self-seeding annuals like chickweed and shotweed pop up everywhere seemingly overnight, and are hell bent on reproducing. Practice weed birth control by using a sharp trowel or weeder to dig the entire plant out before it goes to seed.
-Perennial weeds like dandelion and dockweed send down long, tenacious tap roots. Key here is to work all around the plant with a garden fork, loosen the soil, then wiggle the root until you can pull the whole thing out. Breaking off the root stimulates new growth – get that entire sucker out of there.
-Queens of the nasty are bindweed and blackberry, with long roots that over-winter. Loosen the plant, dig down a bit and follow along the root getting every bit out that you can.
If you have huge areas blanketed in weeds, the best solution is layers of cardboard or newspapers, piles of mulch and four to six months of time for the weeds to suffocate. You can find all the details on the "no-dig" method in The New Low Maintenance Garden and no doubt on line.
As with most things in life, timing is everything. Weed early, thoroughly, and after rain when the earth is softened with moisture. Bag up the weed corpses and toss in the garbage – home compost rarely gets hot enough to reliably kill off weed seeds. Remember that nature loves a void, so mulch, gravel,or plant all areas of bare soil after weeding. Think of the work as green meditation, and reclaim your garden from intruders so you can relax and enjoy being outside this summer.