Get your weeds off my seeds

Yard and Garden News

Landscape fabric also works well to suppress weeds. It is most appropriate for transplanted vegetables, since holes can be cut into it to plant seedlings.

Mulch can be applied at any time, but it is generally a good idea to wait until late spring, once the soil has warmed. Vegetables need warm soil to grow, and applying mulch too early will keep the soil cool for longer into the spring, potentially slowing the growth of vegetables.

In particularly wet years, mulching too early can also create habitat for slugs that chew on vegetable leaves.

2: Throw away or burn mature weeds – Do not compost them.
If left to grow, one common lambsquarter plant can produce over 70,000 seeds on average. Photo: Annie Klodd

The best way to control weeds is to not have them in the first place. Fortunately, there are ways we can help reduce the amount of weed seeds that get into our garden’s soil.

The most important tip is to never leave mature weeds in the garden, otherwise they will deposit their seeds into the garden soil and lead to more weeds in the future. Did you know. weed seeds survive in the soil for several years, and some common species can produce hundreds of thousands of seeds per plant?!

That’s why you should always remove weeds before they are mature enough to flower and produce seeds. But if weeds do grow to maturity, remove them as soon as possible and either dispose of them or burn them – do not leave them in or near the garden, and do not put weeds in the compost pile if they have flowered or have seeds on them.

Composting can only kill weed seeds if all parts of the pile reach at least 140 degrees F for an extended period of time. While some commercial farms and composting facilities achieve these temperatures in large piles that are turned regularly, ideal conditions are challenging to achieve in a home garden setting.

3: Use the hoe and tiller wisely!
Tilling a garden on May 8, 2018, about three weeks before planting warm-season vegetables.
Photo: Annie Klodd

Have you ever noticed big flushes of new weeds after you till your garden soil in the spring? When we till, hoe or rake the soil, that disturbance does uproot existing weeds, but it can also lead to new weeds. This is because tilling stimulates buried weed seeds to grow by exposing them to the sunlight and warm temperatures that they need to thrive.

Using tillage strategically, and understanding a bit about how weeds grow, can help reduce weed problems before even planting the vegetable garden in the spring. A tillage technique called a “stale seedbed” aims to do just that.

Try the stale seedbed technique

In the stale seedbed technique, the soil is tilled or hoed just once, about 2-4 weeks before planting. This purposefully forces weed seeds to emerge early, before the vegetables are planted. The soil is then left undisturbed until it is time to plant.

Right before vegetable planting, the surface of the soil is raked or hoed again to kill the emerged weeds. After planting, try not to disturb the soil again, in order to discourage new weeds from coming up. A mulch or landscape fabric can be laid down at this time in order to suppress further weed seeds from emerging.

It helps you begin the season with a head start on the weeds, and what gardener doesn’t like that?!

How To Eliminate Weeds From Your Garden – 5 Simple Secrets That Work!

Yes, it really is possible to eliminate weeds from constantly invading your vegetable garden!

Weeds truly are the ultimate enemy of gardeners. They are responsible for choking the life from vegetable and flower gardens. All while stealing life-giving nutrients away from our plants.

But they also wreak havoc in a multitude of other ways too. Like harboring pests and disease that lie in wait to attack your plants. And let the weeds go to seed, and the vicious cycle only multiplies.

Listen in to our latest podcast on eliminating weeds!

But it simply doesn’t have to be that way. Nor does it mean you have to spend endless hours in your garden dealing with them.

In fact, some of the most time-consuming chores that gardeners have been led to believe help with eliminating weeds are actually the main culprit in creating more!

By simply eliminating those weed promoting practices, and employing a few additional time and labor saving methods, your weeding problems can and will be a thing of the past.

Our test gardens here at Old World Garden farms are a testament to that fact. Many visitors to the farm are surprised we spend an extremely small portion of our time keeping the 40 x 60 vegetable garden weed free. As in less than 5 minutes a day in the summer!

Not only does a weed-free garden lead to a healthier and more productive garden, it is also a more enjoyable garden. And after all, isn’t that what every gardener wants?

Here is a look at 5 simple tips and secrets that can set your garden on the path to a weed free existence. And create a happier gardener all spring, summer and fall long!

5 Tips To Eliminate Weeds Forever

It is important to realize that eliminating weeds in a garden is a process. But don’t let that scare you. The process is both simple and rewarding, and will only get better with each passing year.

And that process all starts by keeping that rototiller out of your garden!

#1 – Stop Tilling And Digging In The Spring

This is the biggest time saving and weed free garden tip ever! Plain and simple, a rototiller causes far more harm than good. Both in creating weeds, and destroying your soil over time.

When you till your garden, all of the weed seeds that have been laying dormant on top become “planted” into the soil below. Thousands and thousand of seeds at a time.

Tilling your soil is like planting a garden full of weeds. With every turn of the blades, weed seeds are finding a home underneath the soil. All to become the next wave of weeds you need to deal with.

And each time you re-till, the vicious cycle continues. But tilling creates additional garden issues beyond just weeds.

Over time, tilling breaks down the soil structure. In the process, it eliminates air channels in the soil that actually help provide the air, water and nutrient your plants need to survive and thrive.

And if you happen to till your soil when it’s too wet, and you’ll be left with an almost unworkable garden. So what is the answer? Well, they can all be found in the final 4 tips!

#2 Eliminate Bare Soil – How To Eliminate Weeds

Let’s face it, bare soil is an invitation for weeds and weed seeds to find a home. In fact, bare soil is at the very core of weed issues.

Instead of tilling and leaving all of that soil bare, it’s far better to cover it with mulch. Mulching your garden with grass clippings, straw or shredded leaves not only helps to stop weeds, but adds vital nutrients to your soil in the process.

Uncovered soil in the garden is an open invitation for weeds to take over. Weed seeds are spread by the wind and by birds and pests, but keeping the soil covered can keep them from germinating.

When the soil is left exposed, weed seeds can easily find a path to germinate and grow. But by mulching and protecting the soil, you stop that process instantly.

And as you will see below, there are a lot of simple ways to keep your soil from being bare with mulch the whole year round!

#3 Mulch, Mulch and More Mulch! – How To Eliminate Weeds

Keeping weeds out of the walking and growing rows is just as important to the health of your garden as it is the look.

We use a combination of mulches in our garden space to keep it covered and weed free. It starts with a heavy 4 to 6″ layer of hardwood bark mulch in our walking rows. In our growing rows, we use a 3 to 4″ layer of straw, clippings or shredded leaves in our growing rows.

This eliminates ever having to till the garden. The hardwood mulch keeps the walking rows clear and weed free year round. And the mulch in the growing rows keeps weeds out during the garden season.

From time to time a few weeds will start to pop up. We simply pull them up on our daily 5 minute trips through the garden. If needed, we then place a bit more mulch on top of the area for a thicker covering.

Keeping the soil covered at all times is the key to less weeds, less work, and better soil. Straw, grass clippings and shredded leaves are all excellent garden mulches.

It immediately looks great again and stays that way for weeks. It’s so much quicker and better than tilling up that soil between your rows. And it is a win-win with way less work for sure! See : How To Use Mulch In The Garden

#4 Put Away That Hoe and Rake – How To Eliminate Weeds

Here’s two more long-time garden chores that can be eliminated from your to-do list : hoeing and raking.

Remember tip # 1 about digging and tilling? Well, the same goes for digging and disturbing the soil in your garden during the season. Plain and simple, it causes more weeds than it eliminates.

Hoeing and raking your soil creates the same issues as tilling. It plants all of the seeds above ground back into the earth. And those seeds then become the next wave of weeds to pull and deal with.

Every time the soil is disturbed, weed seeds can be planted. That includes both hoeing and raking in the garden. Leaving the soil alone is not just less work, but more effective at keeping weeds away.

The less you disturb your soil, the better. That includes when planting transplants in the garden as well. We use a post hole digger to create a clean, 8 to 10″ planting hole that is about 6″ in diameter for our transplants.

We then fill that hole with nutrients and cover with mulch. Not only does it make planting a breeze it disturbs only a slight area of the soil.

Unfortunately, big shovels and big holes disturb more surface area, and replant more seeds. The same goes for seed planting. We use a pick to create long, narrow channels to plant the seeds.

#5 ) Plant A Fall Cover Crop When Your Garden Is Done – How To Eliminate Weeds

That leads to our fourth and final point – covering those growing rows in the fall with a cover crop!

Cover crops really help eliminate weeds over time by protecting bare soil over the late fall, winter and early spring months. See : Cover Crops and Weeds

With the walking rows permanently covered with a heavier mulch, the only area of concern for winter are the growing rows. And a cover crop is the perfect solution.

They have obvious benefits to helping your soils vitality, but cover crops also help to form a barrier for blowing seeds to enter and lie in wait.

After a season or two of cover crops, you will be amazed how few weeds actually even appear in your garden.

Here is to eliminating weeds in your garden this year, and to your most enjoyable garden season ever! Happy Gardening, Jim and Mary.

As always, feel free to email us at [email protected] with comments, questions, or to simply say hello! You can sign up for our free email list in the subscribe now box in the middle of this article. Follow us on Facebook here : OWG Facebook. This article may contain affiliate links.

10 Things to Know When Pulling Weeds

Banish weeds the right way—and keep them from coming back—with these tips, tools, and techniques.

By Glenda Taylor | Updated Jul 19, 2021 1:15 PM

Ask any group of gardeners to cite their least favorite task, and you’re bound to hear a chorus of “Weeding!” Rampant weeds steal water and valuable nutrients from the soil that beneficial plants could be receiving, and their less-than-lovely heads detract from lawn and garden design.

Maintaining an entirely weed-free garden and landscape may not be possible, but by addressing problems promptly and taking steps to reduce future weed growth, gardeners can lessen the time spent weeding. Ahead, learn how to deal with weeds and find out which tools and products make the task simpler.

How to Remove and Prevent Weeds from Growing in Your Backyard

In the quest to keep the landscape weed-free, it’s easy to make some overzealous mistakes. Before trying your hand at getting rid of weeds, read on for the right way to vanquish the green invaders and reduce their future growth. A bountiful vegetable harvest, big beautiful flowers, and more time to relax will be the happy result.

1. Don’t wait to weed.

If you let weeds tower over your tomatoes, you’ll have a tough time getting them out. When weeds are small, their roots are weaker, making it easier to pull them out. Commit to doing a quick walk-through of your garden every other day; it will take only a few minutes to pull up any young weeds that show up.

2. Grab by the base and pull out the roots.

Gardeners who weed manually may be tempted to reach down and snatch a handful and give it a sharp tug. Unfortunately, that often causes the weed to snap in two, leaving the bottom half and the roots still in the ground. Instead, take your time and grab each weed individually at its base and then pull slowly and steadily to ease the roots from the soil.

The trick is to figure out how to pull weeds without pulling a back muscle. Bending over while standing can strain the back, making it feel as though lifting a heavy item. Try kneeling, sitting on the ground, or even bringing a small portable stool to the spot for more comfortable weed-pulling.

3. Ply the proper tools.

Many gardeners find that a few good weeding tools speed the task. Choose well-made implements with solid handles that are comfortable to grasp and ones that come with heads or blades made of tough forged steel. Also, select weeding tools that suit your weed control method, either kneeling or standing.

  • Kneeling tools: These have relatively short handles, from about 6 to 12 inches long. Rake-type tools with finger-like prongs (such as the Gardener’s Claw Rake, available on Amazon) work well for scraping up surface weeds with minimal root systems, such as henbit. A hook neck tool (such as the CobraHead Weeder, available on Amazon) can be positioned behind the base of a weed and used to dig in and scoop out the intruder. To remove weeds between beneficial plants, try an angled hand hoe like the Nejiri Gama Hoe (also available on Amazon), which features a sharp point for getting into tight spots. Hand shovels can be used to dig out large weed roots.
  • Standing tools: For removing multiple weeds at once, it’s hard to beat the tried-and-true long-handled hoe, but today’s manufacturers have done just that! A hoe with a sharpened blade, such as the Truper Tru Pro 60-Inch Hoe (available on Amazon), can sever roots beneath the soil surface with a single chop. Grip-and-pull weeders like the CobraHead Garden Hand Tool (available on Amazon) promise to save time and labor when removing weeds with deep root systems, such as dandelions. Sharp prongs are driven deep into the soil by pressing a foot pedal, and then the prongs grip the roots securely and pull them right out.

Some jobs are better left to the pros. Receive free, no-commitment estimate from licensed lawn service professionals near you.

4. Understand herbicides.

Need a break from the strenuous work of pulling weeds? Controlling these unwanted crops with foliar herbicides (toxic substances absorbed through a plant’s leaves) is physically easier than either pulling or hoeing. Just be sure to consider the pros and cons of these weed killers before you go this route.

PROS
  • Spraying a foliar herbicide such as Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed and Grass Killer (available on Amazon) effectively kills individual weeds or large areas that are awash with weeds.
  • Foliar herbicides work fast, killing weeds sometimes within a day—and usually no longer than a week—of application.
  • There’s no need to remove weeds individually and no strain on your back from bending over and pulling weeds for long periods. After the weeds turn brown and die, rake them into a pile and dispose of them.
CONS
  • The wind could blow herbicidal spray onto beneficial plants, inadvertently harming or killing them.
  • Exposure to chemical herbicides may result in skin irritation, while inhaling the spray can result in a sore throat and other respiratory woes. Care should always be taken not to come into contact with the spray.
  • Weeds that are chemically killed should not be placed in the compost bin. Traces of herbicides can survive the composting process and result in stunting vegetation if later used in garden soil.
  • Chemical herbicides may interfere with the environment, and studies indicate that the chemicals can affect earthworms and offset soil nutrients, leading to the leaching of chemicals into streams and underground aquifers. Consider a non-toxic herbicide, such as Natural Armor Weed And Grass Killer (available on Amazon), which will allow you to avoid the contamination problems associated with toxic herbicides.

5. Prevent seeds from germinating.

You don’t have to kill or pull weeds if they don’t grow in the first place, so consider a pre-emergent to keep weed seeds from germinating. Sprinkle a granular pre-emergent herbicide such as Preen’s Organic Vegetable Garden Weed Preventer (available on Amazon) on the soil and then water. The granules will dissolve and permeate the soil, creating a barrier around the weed seeds. A single application will last up to 12 weeks, after which the product can be reapplied.

Note that once a pre-emergent is in the soil, beneficial seeds won’t sprout either. For best results, wait until beneficial plants, such as tomatoes and cucumbers, are four to eight inches tall before using a pre-emergent product (as directed on the package)—it won’t kill plants that are already growing.

Another way to keep weed seeds from germinating is to not disturb them. Digging, turning the soil, and ripping up existing plants and weeds often trigger germination of weed seeds that were lying dormant. It’s a catch-22 because gardeners have to disturb the soil to remove weeds, but they may be causing more weed seeds to sprout when they do. The weeds have to go, but try to disturb the soil as little as possible when getting rid of them.

6. Cut it out.

Some stubborn weeds, such as Canadian thistle, send not only deep roots that are extremely hard to pull but also feature prickly stems and foliage that will pierce anything less than heavy leather gloves. When dealing with these tough customers, reach for a sharp pair of shears, such as the gonicc 8-Inch Premium Pruning Shears (available on Amazon). Hand shears are suitable for small to medium-sized size weeds, while long-handled loppers, such as Fiskars 28” Bypass Loppers (available on Amazon) are helpful for cutting down larger weeds, such as Canadian thistle. The roots will remain in the soil, but in most cases, if you remove the entire growing part of the plant, it can no longer receive the sunshine it needs to survive, and it will die.

7. Know when to turn up the heat!

To deal with a large swath of weeds that doesn’t respond to other methods, consider burning them out. A weed burner, such as the Flame King Propane Weed Burner (available on Amazon), connects to a standard propane tank to deliver a flame directly to the weeds, scorching and killing them. A weed burner works well on invaders growing beneath fences or encroaching near raised garden beds. Be sure weeds are green, not brown and dry. You want to scorch them, not start a fire. Check with local authorities before using a torch for weed control as some communities may restrict or ban their use.

Hot water can also kill weeds. Carefully pour a pitcher of just-boiled water directly on weeds or use a steam weeder, such as the DynaSteam Weeder (available at Amazon), to simplify the process—and reduce the risk of dripping scalding water on your feet.

Weed-killing heat can also be generated using plastic. After harvest in fall, cover a planting bed with dark landscape plastic (hold it in place rocks or bricks) and leave it on over the winter. Sun hitting the plastic will heat up the soil temperature beneath to destroy weed seeds.

8. Grow a no-till garden.

Every fall and again every spring, home gardeners can be found turning their garden soil to help break up heavy clay, distribute organic matter, and deliver oxygen to the soil. Tilling in this way, however, also brings dormant weed seeds to the surface, where they quickly sprout. An alternative to turning the ground several times annually is a no-till garden. No weeding tools are required.

Tilling is still necessary, but only once—when starting the garden in early spring to loosen the soil. After that, cover the garden with four to six inches of organic mulch (dried leaves, grass clippings, or hardwood chips). The mulch helps keep the soil beneath moist and prevents weed seeds from sprouting by keeping light from reaching the soil’s surface. When it’s time to plant seeds or transplant seedlings, just push the mulch aside in that spot—the ground beneath will be soft and ready to receive the new plants.

For a vegetable garden, this might mean creating long V-shaped rows in the mulch with bare soil only visible inside the “V.” Plant crops in the narrow rows, and after harvest, remove the spent plants and cover the area again with mulch. Once a no-till garden has been established, add an inch or two of mulch every year (the old mulch will biodegrade and settle) and push the soil aside as described each time you plant.

9. Try landscape fabric.

Gardeners can reduce the number of weeds in perennial flowerbeds and borders by using landscape fabric. Available in large rolls for spreading out around shrubs, roses, trees, and bushes, landscape fabric stops weeds from growing by creating a barrier that doesn’t let them reach sunlight. While various types of landscape fabric are available, most are made from woven materials, such as polypropylene, and contain perforations that allow water to seep through.

Landscape fabric is designed to be used with a surface mulch, such as wood chips, rubber bits, or pine needles that hold the mulch in place. While the fabric reduces weed growth without using chemical herbicides, the downside is that it discourages garden-friendly earthworms from aerating the soil because they can’t reach the surface.

10. Weed when the soil is wet and soft.

Pull weeds soon after watering your plants or a rain shower; when the soil is moist, the whole weed is more likely to come out by the roots. It’s perfectly fine to put pulled weeds in your compost bin, where the naturally hot temperatures will destroy any seeds.

It’s also easier to pull weeds if the soil is healthy, soft, and loamy. Well-drained soil is light in weight and doesn’t compact, making it physically easier to pull weeds out by their roots, whereas dense, compressed soils, such as those heavy in clay, lock roots in place, making it difficult to pull anything but the smallest weeds.

The addition of organic matter, such as compost and dried leaves, will help lighten and loosen garden soil over time. Try adding an inch or two to the surface of the planting bed every spring and working it in with a shovel. Adding organic matter not only makes weed-pulling easier it also offers a healthier growing environment for desirable plants.

FAQ About Removing Weeds

Reducing weeds in vegetable gardens, flowerbeds, or even in the lawn, is an ongoing concern for gardeners and landscapers, but fortunately, a wide range of products and weeding tools can help. For those new to the battle against weeds, a few questions are to be expected.

What to do after pulling weeds?

The eco-friendliest option is to add pulled weeds to a compost pile or bin, where the internal temperature will reach at least 145 degrees F to kill the weed seeds. The finished compost can then be cycled back to the garden to add nutrients to the soil.

How do I get rid of weeds forever?

Weeds will always be with us, but they can be reduced to a manageable number by following good gardening techniques. This includes pulling weeds when they’re small, using a barrier, such as landscape fabric, applying a pre-emergent herbicide to the soil around beneficial plants, or practicing no-till gardening.

What is the best way to get rid of weeds?

The best way to get rid of weeds is to pull them as soon as they sprout. This may require spending 5-10 minutes daily or every other day pulling tiny weeds, but it’s much simpler to remove them while they’re small.

What is the best tool to remove weeds?

A standard garden hoe, such as the ERGIESHOVEL (available from Amazon) is the best all-around weeding tool because it can be used to remove small weeds without the need to bend over or kneel on the ground.

How do I get rid of daisies from my lawn?

Perennial daisies spread by rhizomes (underground stems), and while they’re prized in the flowerbed, they can be a nuisance when they pop up in the lawn. The plants can be individually dug out, making sure to get all the rhizomes. Alternatively, a non-selective chemical herbicide can be applied directly to the daisy’s leaves to kill the plant.

Final Thoughts

Battling weeds is an ongoing issue for growers everywhere, and in many cases, a multi-pronged approach to getting rid of them is the best practice. By pulling weeds when they’re small, they’re not only simpler to remove, but they also don’t get a chance to bloom and go to seed, which significantly increases weed problems. Being conscientious in early weed removal also reduces the need to use chemical herbicides that are not healthy for the environment.

Some jobs are better left to the pros. Receive free, no-commitment estimate from licensed lawn service professionals near you.