Weeding Done Right

Reader Contribution by Anna Twitto

Araised garden bed made of local rock. Raised bed gardening makes dealing with weeds a lot easier, because one has a concentrated space to conquer.

Weeds are something every gardener has to deal with and, though the problem can be significantly reduced by raised beds and thorough mulching, a living piece of land will never be completely weed-free. Raised beds, indeed, have been a life-saver for us – when you just have to concentrate on keeping a few chosen areas completely weed-free, it’s so much less overwhelming than looking on a whole plot of land and saying to yourself, “wow, this is a mess.”

I am extremely sorry to say that many of our neighbors practice the reckless and short-sighted method of spraying their yards with extensive amounts of herbicide each season and, what’s more, shake their heads at us for being “loonies” who make things so much more difficult for themselves by refusing to use chemicals on our property. However, herbicides don’t just get weeds – they turn the entire area into a polluted desert, and that’s the last thing we want, thank you very much. So we try to do our early prevention work by pulling up young weeds as soon as we spot them, especially in and around the garden beds, and mow through what we weren’t able to catch up with every couple of months.

The best time to pull weeds is after a good rain, when the ground is nice and soft. Once our ground dries, it gets the consistency of hard clay and weeding becomes increasingly difficult. This doesn’t go for the raised beds, of course, which are always kept nice and fluffy. I have taught my kids to always give the beds a quick look-over and pull up every tiny weed they can find – sometimes we even make a contest as to who pulls up most.

The most important thing is not to let weeds go to seed – if you are diligent enough to pick those young weeds on time, you will have less of them next year, and even less the next, and eventually weeding will become a lot less time-consuming. Young weeds can be composted with no problem, but weeds that have already gone to seed should be burned, because you don’t want a new crop of those growing right in and around your compost pile.

This post was an excerpt from my book, Your Own Hands: Self Reliant Projects for Independent Living.

Anna Twitto’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Anna and her husband live on a plot of land in Israel. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. Anna’s books are on her Amazon.com Author Page. Connect with Anna on Facebook and read more about her current projects onher blog. Read all Anna’s Mother Earth News posts here

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