By Erin Huffstetler | 04/25/2014 | No Comments
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Tame the weeds in your yard without chemicals and without a major time commitment. Here’s how I do it in my yard.
I catch them when they first come up. Weeds are easy to pull when they’re small and they haven’t had time to establish a deep root system. I just yank them by hand; or go after them with a hoe, if I’m tackling a large area (like my strawberry patch). During the early spring months, I try to do a little weeding every day, so the task stays manageable.
I use a weed popper. Dandelions and wild violets have taproots, and if you don’t get the whole root, they’ll just come back. A weed popper gets them out root and all.
I pull weeds before they go to seed, so I don’t have more weeds to battle next year. This picture, taken on a recent walk (not in my yard, thankfully), really emphasizes the importance of this. Have you ever seen so many dandelions in one place?
I don’t compost weeds. Lots of people compost weeds that haven’t gone to seed yet, but I prefer to play it say by tossing them in the trash instead. The last thing I want to do is put weed seed back into my soil.
I let my chickens do some of the work for me. Chickens love to eat plantains, dandelion greens, Creeping Charlie and many other common lawn weeds. Turning weeds into egg seems like a pretty cool trick to me, so I give them time to free range each day.
I lay a heavy layer of mulch. To keep the seeds that are already in the soil from germinating, I put down several inches of mulch each spring before they have a chance to wake up.
I try to keep my garden beds full. Lots of plants mean less space for weeds to pop up, and a prettier garden. As my plants mature, I hope to decrease my need for mulch. It’s no fun to lay, and it’s an added cost that I’d love to eliminate.
I go after weeds with vinegar or hot water. If I’m try to kill weeds in a large area like our driveway, I’ll pour vinegar or hot water on them. This is a highly-effective, once-and-done treatment, but it should only be used in areas where the vinegar/hot water won’t come into contact with any plants that you want to keep. It doesn’t discriminate, and will kill any plant material that it touches.
I leave some of my weeds. I don’t like weeds in my garden, but I don’t really mind them in my yard. Dandelions and wild violets help to attract early pollinators to my garden, so I’m content to leave these native weeds where they are. To maintain marital bliss, I’ve agreed to let my husband wage war on the dandelions in the front yard, and in return, he’s agreed to leave the ones in the backyard to the chickens and me (ever tried dandelion jam? It’s tasty stuff.)