The broadest definition of a weed is simply a plant out of place. Now that description may be over reaching, but the implication has merit. The reason being, whatever the plant, it’s depriving water, nutrients and sunlight from the plants you do want there! So even if it’s a plant that doesn’t fit in the classic weed category, if it’s in the wrong place it needs to go. Otherwise, that “weed” is going to compete with your other plants. In this podcast, Joe Lamp’l provides useful strategies for keeping weeds at bay.
BHG016-Keeping Weeds at Bay to Reduce Competition
You’ve likely heard the old expression; there are only two things in life that are certain; death and taxes. Well, I’d like to add one more item to that list: weeds! No matter how hard you try to prevent them, they eventually show up.
The broadest definition of a weed is simply a plant out of place. Now that description may be over reaching, but the implication has merit. The reason being, whatever the plant, it’s depriving water, nutrients and sunlight from the plants you do want there! So even if it’s a plant that doesn’t fit in the classic weed category, if it’s in the wrong place it needs to go.
But how do those “plants out of place” get there in the first place? Well, the sky’s the limit…literally. In some cases, weed seeds, like dandelions, are so light; they travel through the sky until they finally come back to earth in our gardens and lawns! Other common ways that weeds are distributed include bird and animal droppings, and hitchhiking seeds that stick to fur or feathers, or even our cloths and shoes. And there are other ways.
But the key is, weeds are a fact of life in the garden, so how do we keep their numbers down using natural methods as we try and promote the growth of the good plants? Well, let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. Hand pulling. But there’s a little more to it than that. You need to remove weeds early in their life stage, before they develop seeds. That usually comes immediately after flowering. So if you seed any weeds going to flower, pull them immediately! Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for a lot more work later!
And one more thing when it comes to pulling weeds. Some have a deep taproot, again, like dandelions. Unless you get the entire root, there’s a good chance it will grow back. So use a tool made for digging out these kinds of weeds. Typically they have a long, forked prong that pries them out from deep in the soil. My personal favorite tool for this job is called a CobraHead. It’s sharp blade plunges below the root, and is easily removed.
The next step in fighting our war on weeds is to deprive them of water. The best way to do this is to focus the water you do use strictly on your targeted plants. By using soaker hoses, or even better, micro drip irrigation, you can water with literally pinpoint accuracy, so that only your desired plants and the surrounding soil are irrigated. Accordingly, you are literally starving the weeds of the water they need to germinate and grow.
And finally, add mulch and lots of it. We’ve covered the many reasons mulch is a must in our gardens and landscapes. And always included in the list is that mulch cuts down on seed germination. A layer of mulch about three inches thick, will help block sunlight from reaching the soil surface. The weed seeds that depend on that sunlight to germinate won’t get the light they need to do so, and will remain dormant.
But even by taking the proactive steps to managing weeds, they’ll still find their way into your garden. But at least they’ll be a lot less and your garden will look a lot better. But most importantly, your Burpee Home Gardens vegetable plants will have more of what they need to provide you with more of what you want! And speaking of that, I know you want more of these podcasts, right? Well, this is just one of 26 episodes we have for you to help you with all your gardening needs, from seed to mid-season care, all the way to harvest. We’re there for you every step of the way. You can subscribe to these podcasts for free on iTunes or you can listen to them on the website at burpeehomegardens.com. That’s also a great place to go for more ideas and inspiration anytime!
Now go get dirty!