Growing a garden can be filled with many wonderful moments, such as your seed sprouting or the first sign of a vegetable growing on your plant. But there are some tasks you have to take care of that aren’t as pleasant.
Some of those have to do with pests or a fungus developing on your plant. But one that’s just part of the routine you take on as a gardener is weeding the garden. This allows your vegetable plants to thrive.
Weeding is my least favorite part of gardening. There have been years I’ve given up and because of it I lost opportunites for my watermelon and canteloupe to survive. It’s a chore but it really is one that can give you a better harvest.
Trust me, if you want to do lazy gardening it can work BUT by the end of the season the plants don’t thrive. If you have a short growing season like we do, it’s best to get weedy in the beginning. Something I’m reminding myself right not as well!
When weeds are present in your garden bed, they’re sucking the nutrients and hydration away from your vegetable plant. You don’t want anything leeching off of your plant – whether it’s an insect nibbling at the leaves or a weed whose roots are not allowing your garden to succeed.
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The first bit of weeding you’ll be doing, which is the hardest, is thinning out your sprouts. You will usually need to plant more seeds than you’ll use to ensure that space has a sprout that pops up.
But leaving too many sprouts in that place allows the same thing that happens with weeds – two plants competing for the same nutrients. Once you’ve chosen the sprout to leave in place, you’ll want to continually watch for weeds to pop up around it so that you can pull it immediately.
The same goes for starting seeds indoors– it’s important to cut back the other sprouts so the plant can flourish.
If you wait and procrastinate with the task of weeding, that plant will become stronger and will be harder to remove, as well. Some people make the mistake of thinking their plant can survive it, but even if it does, having to harvest a garden with produce tangled up among weeds will be a difficult process for you.
It’s also frustrating. Not taking care of my weeds early on was a reason I had major Garden Burnout the one year.
If you didn’t weed at the beginning here a few tips to help you clear your garden full of weeds today:
- Start over- If it’s really out of control the best thing is to rip everything up and start fresh.
- Using a tiller is a lot easier than by hand. Check for local places to rent it for the day
- Weed after it rains- weeds are a lot easier to pull when the soil is moist
- Use Mulch to help prevent weeds
- Lay newspaper down
- Clear your garden of rocks and roots
- Use ground cover plants
- Be sure to have the edges of the garden trimmed- this is where we usually have grass creep up when we start a new garden bed, and it’s worth the extra care to take it out BEFORE you plant your vegetables.
- Plant close together
This is not merely an aesthetic task, to keep your garden looking nice. It needs to be done routinely. Some people avoid it because they have a difficult time getting up and down in their garden.
There are stand-up weeder tools you can buy to make the task much simpler. The best thing about them is that they get to the root of the weed and remove it. If you weed your garden by hand, you have to make sure you’re taking it out down to the root, or else it will simply pop right back up and continue leeching off of your garden.
One thing that motivates me with weeding is knowing I can give all the weeds to our pigs and goats. The pigs especially love it.
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If the weed is growing close to your plants, make sure that you’re carefully removing them and not disturbing the root system of your vegetable plants in the process.
As you pull them out, add some mulch to the garden to help prevent more weeds from popping up.
Check your local Home Depot or Lowe’s or your local gardening store for their spring sale, to grab mulch for a better deal than halfway through the summer.
If weeding is not your thing and you are over it, container gardening would be a great option to start this year!
More Gardening Tips:
- Why You Don’t Want to Plant Tall Plants in the Wrong Spot
- 10 Pollinator Plants For Your Vegetable Garden
- How to Get Rid of Mold and Mildew on Your Vegetable Plants
- How to Clear a Garden Full of Weeds
- 6 Reasons Container Gardening is the Best Way to Grow Plants
- The Benefits of Container Gardening
- How to Plan Your Container Garden in 5 Easy Steps
- How to Choose the Best Outdoor Container Garden Location