You’re perfectly weed free soil won’t stay looking perfectly weed free for long and a little rain will often mean that your beds are quickly scattered with weeds.
Weeds aren’t great for a vegetable garden because they will compete with our vegetables for space, nutrients and water.
So, here are few tips for keeping on top of weeding your veg patch…
If your beds are new then it may be a bit of a surprise to see weeds popping up all over the place and if it’s your first year of gardening you may not be entirely sure which are weeds and which are your precious carrots!
Stick with it though as if you keep on top of things the weeds will reduce especially if you follow our other tips…
If you’ve planted in rows or blocks then it’s easy to run a hoe along the soil between seedlings and plants.
Get into the habit early on of hoeing once a week to catch weeds when roots are still shallow.
It’s especially important to pull weeds often if you want to practice no dig gardening methods as weeds grow quickly and will need digging out if left.
Weeding after a rain shower makes it easier to pull weeds out because it loosens the soil.
If the sun is shining then even better…lay the weeds on the surface to dry out.
Digging the soil and turning it over will make weeds much worse.
It brings previously covered weeds to the surface to cover disturbed soil it’s natures way of protecting itself (like a cut on your finger developing a scab).
Overtime, no dig beds will develop fewer and fewer persistent weeds.
Weed seeds can remain dormant in the ground for many years so get weeds before they go to seed and spread.
The same goes for grassy areas around your plot…although our garden is next to a meadow which our honey bees love so we leave it all except a path! However, most of our beds are covered because of cats and foxes!
Although annual weeds like chickweed will pull up or hoe out easily you’ll notice much more persistent perennial weeds that will need to be properly removed.
If you leave any part of couch grass or dandelion root in your soil then it will grow into another plant!
Fork them out and destroy!
Also look out and remove bindweed, nettles, thistles and docks.
Do not add perennial weeds to your compost heap!
Easier said than done perhaps when you have beds full of seedlings but get spacings right and leave room for a hoe between rows and you’ll make things easier for yourself.
Anything you can mulch then do it.
This will give you one less bed to weed.
We use a thick layer of grass clippings or well rotted wood chip.
If you’re starting from scratch and have a large area to clear of weeds then it’s best to cover with horticultural fabric or place cardboard underneath raised beds (once you’ve removed the worst offenders).
Potatoes are a good cleaning crop as they produce a nice, dense canopy of foliage.
This shades the soil and suppresses weed growth. The regular earthing up also covers any annual weeds.
While on the subject of weeding I think it’s important to talk about insects.
Early weeds are really important to insects like bees and butterflies.
Right now our honey bees are all over the dandelions and the butterflies are fluttering between nettles!
If you have space then leave a patch away from your beds to grow for pollinators.
You can also use your weeds to make some amazing natural fertilizers!
If you’ve found our weeding tips for gardeners helpful then please share!