Why weeding is so important

Weeding at an allotment or in garden is a constant battle at this time of year. As temperatures rise and stay at a constant, plants of all kinds will grow at the same rate.

A weed by definition is…

“A wild (not deliberately cultivated) plant growing where it is not wanted.”

Keeping on top of the weeds means that the plants that you do want to grow in a certain location won’t be fighting for light, water and space.   At this time of year your weeds are establishing themselves and the bigger they get the harder they will be to get rid of.

Carrot Tops

There are a number of ways to get rid of your weeds – these including:

1. Weeding

A tried and tested method is to literally pull them up out of the ground.   Be sure to take out the root as this could re-sprout and you’ll end up with more weeds. Eventually you’ll get to the point where you can run a hoe your through your beds to break up the ground and the roots of any new weeds that pop up.

Composting your weeds has always been a point of contention –  I tend to chuck all of my debris onto the heap.  The only weeds I try not to compost is horsetail/marestail or bellbind/bindweed. These are particularly prolific and resilient weeds.

2. Chemical Weed Killer

I tend to use chemical weed killer for paths and areas that I definitely don’t want weeds to grow. Most weed killers on the market are made to target one specific type of plant, so the rest of your crop will be fine if you choose to go down this route, but don’t forget…You are still using chemicals on plants that you intend to consume.

3. Covering the ground

Restricting light and water is one of the easiest things to do if you have a bed that you don’t want to get weedy, or if you have you a patch of weeds that you want to kill. Using large sheets of cardboard, plastic, landscaping fabric or literally anything that will stop light through will work for you.  When I plant out some of my seedlings, I tend to mulch as I go to try and stop weeds growing through.

You can use grass cuttings, compost from the compost bin, cardboard or anything to mulch the ground. I’ve read about people using old newspaper cuttings as a mulch and this will help you retain a lot of water into the ground too.

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