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Quote of the Day: Organic Gardening

May 4th, 2014

“The only two herbicides we recommend are cultivation and mulching.”…Organic Gardening Magazine

weeding the garden 4
I noticed while working in the garden yesterday that the weeds are starting to germinate. Mulching and smothering is my preferred method of dealing with weeds, especially the tenacious ones. Right now half of my main garden is being smothered, it will remain fallow this year and I should be able to plant next year.
I’m also adding cardboard and feed bags around the little pottage in the back to smother the weeds around the edges. Every year in grows by a few feet thanks to smothering. This method takes patience, but it works very well. Sometimes you’ll need to smother for two years to get rid of vigorous perennial weeds.
My biggest method for controlling weeds is no till gardening. It’s amazing how much of a difference that makes in the number of weeds you have. The first year or two are spent hand weeding to get rid of any weeds from seed or root, after that initial flush the garden settles into a calm. There are weeds here and there, but nothing like there are when tilling.

How do you deal with weeds in your garden?

10 Comments to “Quote of the Day: Organic Gardening”
  1. daisy on May 4, 2014 at 5:32 am

    I hand pick right now and use lots of pine straw and pine bark mulch. I will use the cardboard method when we relocate and have a bigger garden. Patience really does pay off. Your garden design is lovely.

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  2. Laura @ Raise Your Garden on May 4, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Weeds are a big issue for me right now as I’m dealing with some super weeds! They are ugly & tenacious.

    I love the cardboard method! But three years running has done nothing to squelched this particular weed.

    When I purchased my new topsoil (at a ridiculous price) the weed cam with it!

    Chemicals are also ugly and I have lots of children, dogs and cats and can’t have them! What to do…learn to love weeds I guess.

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  3. Chris on May 4, 2014 at 7:33 am

    I use my weeds a mulch. I pull them and place directly on top of the soil. It acts as a suppressant, but more importantly, it allows its residue to rest in the area it was growing.

    The reason why weeds pop up are many and varied, but its natures way of adding specific nutrients in the soil. Different weeds colonize different types of soils, specific to what they’re lacking.

    If your beating the weeds, its because you’re building up the soil to make it unfavorable for them to grow. That’s generally when grass will try to move in. There’s always something competing to grow, lol.

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  4. Sara on May 4, 2014 at 8:11 am

    In my vegetable gardens, I mulch the paths and beds and really don’t have too much problems with weeds, just on the edges where grass and a few others try to creep in. Most of my “weeds” are edible volunteers like dill and mache. We are struggling with converting a grassy and weedy hill to garden space. We smothered one area and only bindweed (wild morning glory) is the remaining problem, it is so difficult to remove! And we can’t mulch that spot because it’s a very steep slope, and it’s where the chickens hang out–chickens and mulch are NOT a good combo, ha! They do help scratch out some weeds, but not all of them.

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  5. Nebraska Dave on May 4, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Susy, I believe tilling the soil, just as you have said, stirs up the weed seeds and allows more weeds then ever to germinate. Terra Nova Gardens started as a total untamed weed patch two years ago. Today after heavy mulch for two years, only the Murdock will punch through here and there. I’m a firm believer in mulch and no till. Another thing that I used at Terra Nova Gardens was old carpet. It won’t degrade and for pathways to keep the weeds under control it’s great. There’s a never ending supply of old carpet in urban areas from all the apartments. It’s just interesting to hear the comments of neighbors about such unconventional methods of gardening. One said that deep mulch like that will get hot and start on fire. Another said that the mulch will kill my soil and I wouldn’t be able to grow anything for years. They don’t say much anymore because they have seen the harvest that’s come from the garden. :-)

    Have a great no till/mulching garden day.

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  6. Linda Auman on May 4, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    We put 4-6 inches of crushed (from mowing) leaves on our garden each fall; then, in the spring, we just rake the leaves back to plant and leave the leaves in the paths. This is our fourth year and we have lots of earthworms and no weeds! We’ve had very few weeds over the four years; lasagne layers to start with then heavy mulch with leaves. No tilling.

    Reply to Linda Auman's comment

  7. Chris on May 4, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Very pretty garden design you have! I love the rocks “growing” in it! :) We have several different methods of dealing with weeds..Round-up…(NOT)…I hate chemicals anywhere in the yard, home or garden.
    Mostly we just hand pull when they’re young…I use vinegar alot on weeds that arn’t close to any other plants such as between pavers, etc. Heat works well too and good old mulch! Since we are close to Oregon, we can get hazelnut shells, which are also a very pretty mulch and lovely in a path!

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  8. Misti on May 4, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    We mulch heavily but I will always be picking out elm seedlings every year. This is thanks to the tree that hangs over the garden from my neighbor’s yard.

    Reply to Misti's comment

  9. sarah on May 5, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    I don’t have too many weeds in my veggie garden but it’s a neverending struggle to keep the bermuda grass from taking over around my blackberries and all my trees. It grows from roots and you can never pull them all up. At the back of my house, where my blackberries are, I think it’s coming in from the alley and I’ve put down 6 inches of pine bark mulch and put up galvanized sheet metal 2.5 feet up the chain link fence, but it finds a way.

    Reply to sarah's comment

  10. Melanie G on May 12, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    I have a small garden and practice no-till, also. I’ve loved the layering compost method and I’m really starting to see results in my soil quality this year.

    I’ve been really fortunate not to have much trouble with weeds except that last year, something in my leaf mold or compost on just one of my raised beds introduced what I think I just figured out is Mugwort. It comes up through all my layers and completely engulfs the bed. I feel very fortunate that so far it doesn’t seem to have spread to my other beds, but reading more about it is making me wonder if I will ever be able to get rid of it, or if I might have to discard the whole bed’s worth of beautiful soil (if that will even work!).

    I’d love your advice and the advice of others! Online sources say only roundup will get rid of it, but I can’t bring myself to use that stuff, especially since I grow veggies in this bed. Do you think letting it lay fallow and really smothering it for a full year might work? It’s a significant portion of my garden space, and I’d really like to recover it.

    Another one we have trouble with is wild grapevine, but I’m having better luck controlling that one.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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