Organic Weed Control
Hand weeding in your vegetable garden is one of the most effective forms of organic weed control. For established weeds in your garden there are many other organic techniques for keeping them firmly under control.
Organic weed control can be time consuming and hard work. It is important to practice good garden management and
to minimise the amount of time needed for weeding.
Crop rotation and growing green manure crops will help with reduction in weed control. Excessive amounts of major nutrients (nitrogen) in the soil will cause a lot of weeds.
The following methods are to remove existing weeds.
1. Chipping - Using a sharp hoe or spade to remove the weeds at or just below ground level with minimal soil disturbance.
2. Mulching – Placing a layer of (wet) newspaper down then a thick layer of mulch (20 cm or 8 inches).
3. Improving soil conditions. - Maintain good soil structure, fertility and mulch coverage to help prevent weed infestation.
4. Solarisation - Cooking the weeds under plastic in hot weather.
5. Barrier - Solid or growing barriers contain the spread of invasive plants.
6. Slashing - Cutting the leafy growth after flowering and before seed set.
7. Dense plantings and green manures give weeds nowhere to grow.
8. Hand pulling - The best method for getting weeds which are in amongst the plants you want to keep.
9. Heat - Flame or steam weeders kill by cooking the leafy top growth. Also pour on boiling water.
10. Cultivation - Digging out with fork and machinery. Excessive cultivation damages the soil.
11. Persistence - There are no instant fixes.
Weeds are a valuable source of organic material. Their efficient root systems bring up nutrients from the soil, which, once returned to the garden bed, improve soil fertility.
A good compost heap will produce enough heat to kill weeds and most seeds. An exception is seed of the Burr Medic (Bindi) which survives hot composting.
This method is used weeds that are invasive, seedy or bulb weeds. The weeds are placed in a container such as a rubbish bin, covered with water and left to brew for a month or so. Put a lid on the container to keep the smell in. The resulting 'weed tea' is applied to the garden as a liquid manure.
the roots of some non-persistent or non-invasive plants may be left in the soil after their tops have been removed. The remaining root systems improve the soil by holding the soil structure together and providing nutrient/water/air channels as they decompose.
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Organic Vegetable Garden