From the Desk of Ed Hume: Ideas on How to Control Summer Weeds

July 11, 2011 at 12:00 AM Leave a comment

Unwanted weeds and grasses can really ruin the appearance of any garden.  Here are a few ideas one can use to help keep weeds and nuisance grasses somewhat in check during the summer growing season.

Of course, there is the old method of getting down on your hands and knees and pulling up the darn things.  That’s somewhat effective, but too often a part of root is broken off and the weed comes right back again.  This method can be tough on the knees and the back too.

I like to use a long handled 3 or 4 tined hoe to loosen the soil and pull the weeds.  I use it mainly in the vegetable garden where you cannot use any type of weed control product.

A friend puts down old wood boards in the pathways (between rows), then spreads a thick layer of newspaper over the wood, and then covers that with his grass clippings.  He uses only organic and natural products on his lawn, so there is no concern about contaminating his nearby vegetable plants.  Then in the fall, he spreads out the dried grass clippings over his garden, adds some fallen leaves and tills or spades it in with the existing soil.  Using this method, Mother Nature composts it naturally, over-winter.

In the flower and shrub beds there are a few products that might just be a solution for some home homeowner’s.  One is completely natural, but not 100% effective; it’s gluten of cornmeal.  It’s available in several garden products, or sometimes sold simply as “Gluten of Cornmeal.”  It’s a by-product of cornmeal and contains about 8 or 9% natural nitrogen, so it’s a combination weed and grass control product and fertilizer.  Researchers have found that it coats the seed, covering it so the seed cannot germinate.  It cannot be used in the vegetable garden, because it would keep your vegetable seed from germinating too.

There are also commercial products that can be used that are more effective.  I would suggest you ask the Certified Professional Horticulturist at your local garden outlet which one they recommend for your particular need.

Then last, but certainly not least, is the use of a mulch over your flower and shrub beds.  For example, a one or two inch layer of compost spread over the surface of your flower and shrub beds will often help to keep the majority of weeds in check.  Plus, the compost adds organic humus with the existing soil.

And, those are only a few ideas, check our web site for other ideas.


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