Alternatives to control weeds in the garden

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Alternatives to control weeds in the garden

One year’s seeding is seven year’s weeding.  Weeds tend to be our nemesis when gardening and many an hour has been spent methodically and sometimes frantically digging those persistent buggers out of the garden.  Yours truly has developed a habit of pulling out weeds no matter where. I have to admit it does provide certain kind of satisfaction. The best description I have ever heard is an extract that Christopher Lloyd wrote in The Well-Tempered Garden:

“Many gardeners will agree that hand-weeding is not the terrible drudgery that it is often made out to be. Some people find in it a kind of soothing monotony. It leaves their minds free to develop the plot for their next novel or to perfect the brilliant repartee with which they should have encountered a relative’s latest example of unreasonableness.” Despite the satisfaction provided from destroying weeds, it helps to put things into perspective when we can understand their use in nature.

weeding alternatives
Purslane is a vigorous growing annual weed

Why Weeds Aren’t All Bad

  • Some weeds in conjunction with symbiotic bacteria add nitrogen to the soil through the process called nitrogen fixing.
  • Weeds with a very deep tap root such as Dandelion help to bring up nutrients and moisture from beyond the range of normal plants roots.  Thus, weeds with deep tap roots help to improve the soil’s quality through its lifetime in the soil.
  • Weeds act as terraforming plants in newly disturbed soil by preventing soil erosion and preparing the soil for the next generation of plants.
  • Plants such as mealies’ and tomatoes’ roots will actually “piggyback” on weed roots allowing the roots to spread better than they would have without the added boost.
  • Some weeds will act as a living mulch, keeping the roots cool and lessening the evaporation of moisture from the soil.
weeding alternatives
Dandelion has many uses including herbal and ecological

Yet weeds can be a major headache if you are looking for a neat and groomed garden. Certain weeds can smother your plants or are just too thirsty.  They can also act as hosts for pests, diseases and viruses – as all plants can.  An effective way to keep weeds out of your garden beds is to regularly mulch your beds.

Mulching to Control Weeds

  • Mulch has a smothering effect on weeds whereby the germinating seeds can’t penetrate the layer of mulch and dies out.
  • Perennial weeds need to be pulled out because they will still grow through the mulch.
  • Mulching will also improve the soils condition and it’s water retention capabilities.
  • With autumn around the corner we will soon have a bounty of fallen leaves to use in the garden.mulch is a safe weeding alternative

Weeds on Paving

  • Weeds in your paving can be controlled a variety of means.  Have a look at a few ideas in the video below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGRCaAZ835A
Chris has been testing on a lawn but it will have the same effect on paving.

At Heckers we are currently reviewing the stocking of some agro-chemicals due to enviromental concerns and conversations with our customers.  We have the following survey where you our customer can let us know how you feel about the use of these products. We would greatly appreciate your input: Agro-chemical survey

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