anashenwrath
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Soooo.... how do you weed, exactly?

I know it seems like the silliest question, but I'm not sure how to weed my garden. (Do I even need to clarify that I'm a newbie? :lol: )

I'm seeing tons of weeds in my little community garden plot. I've been pulling them up by hand and I am pretty sure I'm getting all the roots. But it's slow going, especially bcs all my weeds are itty bitty.

A lot of websites seem to say the best thing is mulch. Is it too late to lay mulch down when my plants are already planted? Could I just make sure there is a space around the plants and avoid mulch in areas where I know there are seeds waiting to sprout??

Any other advice? Next year I'll put down some of that fabric stuff. It's probably too late now.

Thanks!

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jal_ut
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Re: Soooo.... how do you weed, exactly?

Hoe, hoe, hoe. Pull what is left.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

anashenwrath
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Re: Soooo.... how do you weed, exactly?

Can I hoe close to plants without hurting them?

anashenwrath
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Re: Soooo.... how do you weed, exactly?

Awesome! Thank you so much! This will be my project for my day off!

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jal_ut
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Re: Soooo.... how do you weed, exactly?

Yes. Shallow. You want to disrupt that top inch of soil. Cut the weeds off from their roots. I plant rows 32 inches apart, then I can take the rototiller between rows to weed. Then catch what is left with a hoe or pull them. Weeding is ongoing here. My irrigation water comes in a canal then into a pipeline and is laden with weed seeds. It is sprinkler irrigation so the surface of the soil all gets wet and every seed comes. You just have to keep after it. I also like a wide bladed butcher knife for close weeding. That and a hoe and if you get over 1000 sq feet, a wheel hoe is nice. Then like I say the tiller works if you lay your garden out for it. Weeds are a fact of life. Do whatever it takes to disrupt them.

Then there the perennial types like morning glory and Quack Grass. Those are a challenge. You about have to dig up the roots and toss them in the garbage can or dry them well so that they die.

One other note: Gardens do not have to be entirely weed free to produce. A few weeds growing along with the veggies may reduce your yield a bit, but is not going to cause failure. Some weeds are actually edibles too. Have fun!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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jal_ut
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Re: Soooo.... how do you weed, exactly?

My area is much too large to consider mulching it all, however I often use newspapers then top with grass clippings to mulch around tomato plants. This if very effective weed control and gives the fruit something to land on besides the bare soil. I don't trellis tomatoes. Just let them sprawl.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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applestar
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Re: Soooo.... how do you weed, exactly?

... :oops: ... Feeling exceedingly lazy right now ... :oops: ...

-- so
I'm just going to copy and paste a couple of my previous posts :wink:

Subject: Grass/Weeds
applestar wrote:It depends on what part of the garden -- what kind of plants -- size of weeds....

Very often paper and mulch for large swaths like new beds or prepping weedy beds where started seedlings will be planted, or under the fruit trees.

Long handled sharpened 5" Stirrup/action hoe for straight wide areas between plants and along edges, narrow 3" stirrup hoe between plants with enough space because long handled hoe is still too easy to accidentally chop down desirable plants.

Super sharp Japanese short handled triangle headed weeding hoe with sharp corners for dug in stubborn weeds -- but VERY EASY to accidentally decapitate desirables because the sharp edged corners are hidden while skimming just below soil surface -- and super sharp Japanese short handled sickle for cutting overgrown weeds and grass close to the ground. (I love this tool because overgrown grass or weeds without seedheads are valuable green mulch.) Sharpening stone or file kept in pocket at all times while using these.

Flat metal loop dog/horse grooming shedding rake for seedling weeds at close quarters and between plants because the loop makes it possible to ONLY aim for the weeds without harming the desirable plants.

Grab and pull or pluck with fingers.

Point of Hori-Hori knife for tight quarters between plants/seedlings and the serrated edge for digging up or sawing off thick taproots.
Subject: What is this and how do I weed it?
applestar wrote:
Sammie1002 wrote:What would you do around the seedlings that have popped up? Maybe use the hoe around them then hand pick near them?
Use one of these? :wink:

Subject: 2014 Spiral Garden Garlic Onion Pea Corn Squash Cuke Beet
applestar wrote:I mentioned this before but I love my $8 shedding rake (dog/horse grooming tool) for weeding around young plants/seedlings. It worked like a charm between/around onions, and I sowed some pre-germinated beet seed capsules where onions were more than 8" apart. Took care of the weeds around corn too. :D
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Breanna.link
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Re: Soooo.... how do you weed, exactly?

I pull them by hand throw in a bucket and have dug a hole for a compost trench in one area for the green tender stuff (already filled it) now I am making a pile that I dug about 8 inches down and 2X2 where I plan on putting a three sided compost 'bin' on top of

meshmouse
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Re: Soooo.... how do you weed, exactly?

anashenwrath -

This is not a silly question, but a rather serious one (good luck).

I think the first approach is to do exactly what you're doing. Get them young. I hand pick a bit here and a bit there as I'm checking or harvasting. Every little bit helps. The old proverb 'the longest journey begins with a single step' applies. Don't become overwhelmed. Be consistant. Just don't let them go to seed.

I don't know the size of your garden, but I'm going to assume it is on the small side, perhaps raised beds. If I'm wrong, and it is larger, follow what jal_ut says, as I believe he is gardening large and under adverse (short season) conditions. And he has his weeds imported (how chic, jal_ut). Chuckle, chuckle (I don't do emoticons).

As for my own little raised beds, here are a few tips that I have gathered and implimented with success from this forum. I prefer to mulch with straw. It's cheap, good for the soil eventually and effective. I rake back the wintered straw mulch in early spring and let the weeds go. In 4 or 5 days, I come back and take a Dutch Hoe to them.

Then I put down 2-4 inches of old and new straw mulch. I clear little spots away to plant my seedlings. When direct sowing things that can't grow thru that kind of mulch (carrots, radish, etc.), just keep a clear space, plant and then mulch once they are big enough.

I think what I am calling a Dutch Hoe is what 'applestar' is describing as a 'Long handled sharpened 5" Stirrup/action hoe for straight wide areas'. Stirrup is exactly right, that's what they're like. They don't go particularly deep, but they disrupt little weedlings very easily and effectively.

You can get a Dutch Hoe pretty much anywhere in the redlight district of Amsterdam, or you can go to Ace or Lowes and possibly find them. I would highly recommend one for a small garden.

applestar - what a great idea to use the horse/dog brush/rake for close work. I will bring mine to the garden tomorrow.

meshmouse

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Soooo.... how do you weed, exactly?

Just agreeing with what's been said. For few, bigger weeds, dig out with a trowel. For lots of weeds, especially little ones, just hoe them out, either with regular hoe for larger areas or hand held fork for raised beds. Then MULCH. You don't want to put down mulch until seeds are sprouted and plants are tall enough not to be smothered by the mulch. Then lay down several inches of mulch, leaving an empty circle around the plants, so mulch does not touch their stems. I like a mixture of brown/green mulch - fall leaves and grass clippings, straw and pulled weeds, etc. Other people swear by pine straw, but I don't want to have to buy and import mulch.
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meshmouse
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Re: Soooo.... how do you weed, exactly?

rbg - Quick question - do you think pine straw would be less inviting to slugs and such? - meshmouse

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GardeningCook
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Re: Soooo.... how do you weed, exactly?

meshmouse wrote:rbg - Quick question - do you think pine straw would be less inviting to slugs and such? - meshmouse

No - mulch is mulch/hiding places to most pests. They don't care what it's made of.
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digitS'
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Re: Soooo.... how do you weed, exactly?

Not RBG but I like pine needles as a compost ingredient. I've had problems with mulch - pests and weed roots can travel under mulch.

I don't like to hoe. It reminds me of when I was a kid. It was always coming on to midday, always over 80° with the sun beating down, and I still couldn't see the end of the row ... :?

I like a nice comfortable stool. And a short-handled cultivator, and gloves that fit ... There are lighter 3-prong cultivators and some fairly heavy-weight 3-prong cultivators, for things like dandelions.

Don't let them go. A 2" weed isn't hard to deal with. Those that are mature can be tough. Not going to seed means that seeing a blooming weed has to goad you into action!

Oh and, a long-handled 4-prong cultivator is comfortable to lean on while you stand, contemplating the horizon or watching a circling Redtail Hawk. In combination with a spading fork to loosen the soil, even a tough weed can't stand up to a long-handled cultivator assault by a determined gardener :).

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Soooo.... how do you weed, exactly?

I've never used it, so don't really know. You would think being sharp needles they wouldn't like it too much, but it does flatten out and mat down, so that advantage might disappear. If ElizabethB, who is one who swears by them, doesn't come by soon, you could always PM her and ask.
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