You’re looking at your garden wondering how it turned into such a mess. After all, you grew vegetables in it just last season. Weeds have taken over and you don’t know what to do? There are no chances for a vegetable garden now unless you get rid of the weeds. Weeds are every gardener’s worst nightmare. They’ll turn up in your garden no matter which hardiness zone you live in.
If you have a vegetable garden full of weeds and you want to clear it all and start fresh, you’ll find out all about it here.
Top Ways To Clear A Vegetable Garden Full Of Weeds
Here are some of the tried-and-tested ways to handle weed invasion. Try out some of these tricks to clear your garden full of weeds and see which one works best for you.
1. Black Plastic Mulch
One of the fastest and efficient ways of clearing a garden bed full of weeds is to cover it with black plastic. Black polythene film is easily available at garden centers. Just spread it out over the area you want to clear of weeds and wait for it to do its magic. While you can also use organic mulches, it allows some rays to enter from the open spacings, giving a chance of survival to some weeds. If you’re worried that black plastic might lower your garden’s looks, spread organic mulch over it.
2. Newspaper Mulch
Another approach to getting rid of all the weeds is to cover them with layers of damp newspaper. This too, just like the plastic mulch, will block the sunlight for weeds, killing them eventually. Cover the newspaper with organic mulch. The benefit of using newspaper mulch is that, once it has killed all the weeds, it will slowly decompose over time, together with the organic mulch over it, adding nutrients to the soil.
Nothing beats the performance of old-fashioned weeding tools, such as a long-handled hoe. Instead of spending the days pulling out weeds by hand, a hoe makes the job easier and faster. Many varieties of hoes are available in the market. Choose one that’s most comfortable for you. The ones with diamond-shaped blades are particularly good at pulling out deep-rooted weeds from the ground.
4. Weed Torch
Though many gardeners don’t approve of this approach because of the associated environmental effects, using a weed torch is an effective approach to clearing a large piece of land from weeds. Make sure this approach is approved by local authorities before applying it to the weeds. Direct the torch at the weeds and they’ll burn.
5. Organic Herbicides
Organic herbicides are great for using on a garden invaded by weeds. They break down easily and are low on toxin, which is why they don’t lay any lasting effects on the soil or environment. Since the herbicides can’t distinguish between plants and weeds, they’ll diminish the growth of anything they’re applied to. This is why they’re recommended for clearing a piece of land that’s covered by weeds. However, if weeds are growing amidst useful plants, use of organic herbicides may harm the plants as well.
Organic herbicides include vinegar, corn meal, Matran and WeedZap. Apply the herbicide on the area you want to treat. Since the toxin levels are low in these products, you may have to reapply several times before seeing any worthwhile results.
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6. Till The Weeds
You can till the area, mixing up the weeds into the soil so that they become a nutrient source for your future crops. However, before doing so, carefully remove all the flower heads of the weeds so that no weed seeds remain that can sprout and resurface. Also, cover the area with organic or plastic mulch a couple of days ahead of tilling the land. Doing so will kill the weeds before incorporating them into the soil as a nutrient source. Even after all these precautions before tilling weeds into the soil, there’s a chance that weeds can appear during the planting season. Till the soil around the plants with straw, hay or grass clippings to keep the weeds out.
7. Chemical Herbicides
This approach to killing weeds should only be resorted to if all else fails. Chemical herbicides damage the environment, disrupt the soil nutrients and may result in stunted growth of the plants. That being said, they’re very effective against weeds and easy to use. They’ll save you the trouble of weeding a large piece of land by hand, or tools and will show excellent results by killing the weeds in no time. It’s best to weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether chemical herbicides are a suitable way to address the issue.
8. Pull Them Out
All the above methods are to prevent you from wasting your time weeding the land by hand. However, sometimes there’s no other way than to get your hands dirty. If you choose to pull out the weeds, do so when the soil is moist and soft because it’s easier to pull out the entire weed plant from the roots. If the roots remain in the ground and you only manage to pull out the green growth, the unwanted intruder will pop back in no time.
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So now that you have multiple ways to clear your vegetable garden of weeds, it’s time to get to work. Choose the method that works best for you and gear up against weeds. You may even have to use a combination of different methods before the land is weed-free and ready for planting some vegetable crops next season.