Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies around the world, and it’s easy to see why. The cultivation and maintenance of a garden is one of the simplest pleasures in life, and being able to enjoy the fruits of your labour (literally) with a vegetable patch is an added bonus to the enjoyment of gardening.
Unfortunately, where there’s a garden there’s weeds, and the same can be said for vegetable patches. Weeds can be particularly difficult to manage in vegetable patches because you need to also be cautious of the vegetables when treating the weeds.
If you’re struggling with weeds in your vegetable patch, we’ve got some advice to help you prevent, manage, and remove weeds.
Preventing Weeds from Growing in Your Vegetable Patch:
There are a number of ways you can prevent weed growth before it even begins:
Weed Control Membrane:
Weed control membrane is a very popular method for keeping weeds at bay. This membrane is a very diverse tool and can be used for a wide variety of different purposes, such as patios, gravel beds, raised beds, and can be used as a preventative measure for your vegetable patch to keep the weeds out.
Weed control membrane is designed to let water pass through to allow the soil to receive essential nutrients whilst still acting as a physical barrier, restricting access for weeds that might try and grow through.
Although weed control membrane is a simple and easy to use preventative measure, it’s not a suitable technique for all purposes as its presence can interfere with the natural bio-activity in the soil. In the case of a vegetable patch, weed control membrane may possibly interfere with the soil and affect the growth of the vegetables.
Mulching is a particularly effective technique to stifle the growth of perennial weeds. Similar to weed control membrane, mulching works by creating a physical barrier below the soil surface. It’s an effective soil addition for a variety of crops such as fruit trees, bushes, and your vegetable patch!
Mulching also has a variety of benefits above and beyond weed control; mulching helps soil retain moisture and reduces regularity of watering, provides nutrients, helps warm soil in spring, and helps protect plant roots from extreme temperatures (both hot and cold). Unlike weed control membrane, mulching can actually help build a better soil quality over time, whereas weed control membrane stifles growth.
Removing Weeds from Your Vegetable Patch:
If you already have a weed presence in your vegetable patch, here are some suggestions as to how you can remove them:
The garden hoe is one of the oldest tools in history, with evidence of this piece of equipment found as far back as the ancient Egyptians in 3,000 BC. The hoe is still being used by gardeners and farmers alike today; there’s an old expression that goes, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, and the hoe is a perfect example of this ideology. Even with the wonders of modern technology the hoe is still an infallible piece of equipment when it comes to soil cultivation and weed removal.
Hoeing is best done when the weeds are still small or seedling. Hoeing is especially effective if you have weeds that are too small to pull by hand or use other treatment options on. It’s best to hoe when the soil is dry: we recommend hoeing before you water your plants, ideally in dry weather conditions.
The edge of the hoe can be used to slice down weeds at the stem just below the soil, preventing further weed growth. The turning of the dry soil can help prevent new weeds from germinating.
Some weeds can be removed by hand, or by using a small hand-held tool such as a fork. This method is more effective with some weeds than others, since if a fragment of root is left behind (as seen in perennials such as bindweed or nettles), they can easily grow into new weeds.
Hand pulling weeds can also be a time-consuming endeavour, but it comes with little to no cost and there is no use of dangerous or harmful tools/chemicals that could potentially cause damage to either you or your vegetables.
There are specially made tools known as weed burners available that are made to kill weeds by delivering a short burst of extreme heat. Once the weed is killed by the heat the plant will naturally degrade over time, so it’s not always necessary to take the time to pull the weeds.
Flame guns are a good alternative to chemical solutions as you don’t have to worry about having your vegetables being in close proximity to potentially harmful chemicals. Flame guns are also a time efficient option as it only takes 5 seconds to kill the weed, and you don’t need to take the time to pull the weeds after they’ve been killed as they will naturally degrade within two weeks or so.
However, weed burners are potentially dangerous items that can cause bodily harm if used inappropriately. Weed burners also aren’t suitable for use on all weed types, and they are less effective on deep rooted weeds.
There is no shortage of chemical weed removal solutions available on the market. Different weeds have a number of different chemical formulas that can be used to kill them. While no two weed killers are the same, when it comes to weed removal in a vegetable patch, it’s highly recommended to exercise caution.
The use of potentially toxic solutions in close proximity to vegetables that may be consumed could be very dangerous. If you decide to go ahead and use chemical weed killers to remove your weeds, we would strongly advise you to be very careful about using them within the vicinity of your vegetables or on soil you plan on planting vegetables in.
How Do I Know Which Method Is Best Suited for My Vegetable Patch?
There are so many different approaches you can take when it comes to tackling weeds in a vegetable patch. Determining which technique is best for your garden is based on so many different factors, such as the weed types, the soil, the proximity to vegetables, the time of year, and many more.
With so many different factors to take into consideration it can make it difficult to know the best way to approach your weed problem. Lawn & Weed Expert are passionate about lawn maintenance and helping our customers keep their lawns looking the best they can. If you’re interested in finding out more about the weed control services we offer and how we can help save you money, check out our weed control page on our website.
Lawn & Weed Expert are also proud to offer FREE lawn surveys to our potential customers. If you’re interested in having your lawn surveyed by one of our expert team members and receiving a free, no-obligation quote, contact us today to arrange your free survey.
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Read More: When to Plant Fruits and Vegetables in Your Garden