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Sustainable Ways to Control Weeds

August 10th, 2014
 DandelionID: 93749 © Patricia Betts | Dreamstime Stock Photos

DandelionID: 93749 © Patricia Betts | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Regardless of how much time you spend gardening, there will always be the odd weed that creeps up and attempts to take over your entire garden. And while gardening is a typically relaxing activity, the appearance of weeds can at times sour the experience. While you may stress over whether your plants will successfully grow this season, weeds almost certainly spoil your gardening fun.

Weeds are all-pervading, with a report titled Principles of Sustainable Weed Management in Organic Cropping Systems stating that, “Weeds are the most costly category of agricultural pests, causing more yield losses and added labor costs than either insect pests or crop disease.”[1] And farmers are not alone in their weed-based frustrations. In fact, a paper authored by the WSSA (Weed Science Society of America) entitled Scientists Pursue New Sustainable Alternatives for Weed Control in Organic Production Systems stated that weeds are “the most critical problem facing today’s organic grower… They rob fields of moisture, compete with crops for nutrients, reduce yields and drive up costs.”[2]

But what does this mean for the humble gardener who doesn’t have the financial backing required to research and manufacture their own scientific remedies? How can you combat the dreaded weeds that slink into your garden without resorting to chemical products? For gardeners who are interested in learning sustainable techniques to eradicate the weeds, here are a few methods that do not include the use of chemical herbicide products.


Timing – As with most things in life, timing is everything. Whenever possible, inspect your garden and ensure that new weeds have not sprouted up. Early prevention is the key, and removing smaller “infant” weeds that have only just sprouted is much easier than trying to eradicate a whole garden’s worth of waist-height weeds!


Pouring – If you want to curb the increase of weeds but without using harmful chemicals, one of the easiest (and least expensive) ways is to simply pour certain things over infected weedy areas. For example, a well-known technique is to repeatedly pour boiling water until the weeds decide to retreat. Another idea is to pour a soapy brew made from five tablespoons of mild dish-washing liquid with two cups of water over the weeds. An additional homemade concoction involves adding an ounce of alcohol to some water and pouring it over Mr. and Mrs. Weed, or instead dispensing everyday household white vinegar on them.


Pulling – Obviously, a solid yank to uproot weeds from the root is an easy method, but remember to wear thick gardening gloves. If they are particularly defiant or unintentionally break off in your hand, a quick fix is to rapidly jab a screwdriver into the ground around the roots, so you can loosen up the surrounding soil and fast-track each weed’s removal. You can also relax the soil with a diamond hoe, or pour a smattering of water on the soil before wiggling the weeds and wrenching them out.


Sprinkling – Rock salt is a natural barrier for weeds, which means that sprinkling a little of it around your lawn borders will prevent new weeds from emerging (although bear in mind that it will also stop any other plants from growing too). Corn gluten is also an effective weed suppressant, and is available in numerous different forms, including powder, pellets and granules. Commercially available organic herbicide products that feature natural fatty acid and citric acid ingredients are also a helpful resource.


 Suffocating – Since weeds require sunshine to flourish, wipe out existing weeds (as well as stopping new ones from growing) by taking away their natural source of sunlight. Add a three-inch thick layer of mulch to keep pesky weeds from sprouting. You can also smother persistent weedy areas with heavy carpet off-cut remnants or large scraps of old newspapers.


Folks, how do you keep weeds from ruining your gardening spaces?


About the Author:

This great content was provided by which provides expert residential and commercial landscape pest treatment services. If you would like more information, please visit them online at Pestmaster Services today!


About Humble Seed:

Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed. We’re also proud to say we have taken the Safe Seed Pledge!!

Does starting your first garden seem too overwhelming or you simply don’t have the space? The Tower Garden may be the answer for you!  Passionate about gardening and healthy living, or looking to expand your current health-based business? Consider becoming a Tower Garden distributor! Email info@humbleseed for more information or message us on Facebook.




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5 Easy Ways To Prevent And Remove Weeds

June 17th, 2012

It’s that time of year again.  Summer temperatures are rising, and backyard weeds can grow just as fast as you can pour yourself an ice-cold glass of lemonade. Weeding will most likely be the brunt of the maintenance required in the summer time, as weeds thrive in the dry heat and can inhibit a vibrant garden. Aim to weed about 2-3 times a week, and remove weeds quickly when they are small, as large root systems won’t have the opportunity to form.

But before you run out to buy yourself a tube of Bengay for a future back braking session of weed pulling, we have some tricks to make the process easier.  While prevention is paramount to less grueling summer maintenance, we also have some helpful tips on killing weeds naturally (so you have more time to drink ice-cold glasses of lemonade).

1.  Prevent and control weeds with mulch.  We’ve already discussed the amazing benefits of mulching, and we love that weed control is one of them.  Covering the soil with a layer of mulch blocks weeds from growing, while lowering the soil’s temperature (weeds thrive in hot temperatures). Mulching can be done on the cheap or free, using materials like natural falling leaves, twigs, and pine needles, nut shells, plastic mulch sheets, shredded wood, hay, cardboard, bark, sawdust, crushed rocks or aged compost.

Sheri Blumenthal over at Farmer’s Almanac has this clever tip, “A great mulch combination is to first lay cardboard down and then leaves on top. You can add a layer of compost above the cardboard and then put the leaves on top for an extra nutrient kick. This process is called sheet mulching, and it does a much better job than just leaves alone.”

2.  For further prevention, resist the urge to turn the soil. Unseen to the gardener are a number of dormant weeds underneath the soil that require light and air to surface and thrive. Keeping the weeds underground by minimizing disturbances allows them to remain dormant, and “sleep.”

3.  Spray weeds with vinegar, salt and/or dish soap, a lethal combination that acts like a weed terminator. While salt dehydrates the weeds, vinegar acts as a natural herbicide, allowing plants to decompose in aerobic conditions. The dish soap works to help the solution to “stick” on the plant’s leaves and stalk. The University of Idaho recently conducted a study using vinegar as a weed killer, and found that vinegar had an 80-100% kill rate on selected weeds. To make your own batch, pour 1-quart household vinegar, ¼ cup salt, and 2 teaspoons of liquid dish soap into a spray bottle. Shake well, and spray liberally.

4.  Out of dish soap? Try boiling water and vinegar together.  Then carefully pour it in a heat resistant container. When immediately possible, pour the hot liquid directly over the weeds. The solution must be at boiling or near boiling point for the weed’s roots to “cook” and die.

5.  For acute weed growth, The DIY Network suggests reusing grass clippings by dumping them all over the entire area covered in weeds. The grass clippings acts as a soil amendment, and will stifle light and air from the weeds, until they eventually die.  While unsightly for a few days or weeks, this process can break the weed cycle and improve the overall health of the soil in the long term.

Looking for more maintenance tips to make life easier? Read through our summer guide!

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