If you want weed-free seedbeds for next spring—you better hop to it now. A little work today will save much work come spring. Fall sown hardy annual seeds are some of the easiest and most rewards spring flowers–if you prevent the weeds!
The Weed Seed Situation
Garden soil has millions of weed seeds. They are just sitting out there waiting for what they need to sprout– a little sunlight and a drop of water and poof–a weed is born.
When you dig around in soil, preparing a bed or perhaps pulling a weed it disturbs the soil. All that disturbance brings a new batch of weed seeds to the surface where light and water is waiting. And so goes the vicious cycle.
The first line of weed defense it to try to limit bringing fresh soil to the surface exposing more weed seeds to light. So, once you have planted seeds or plants it is desirable to limit disturbing soil greater than 1 inch or so deep.
Taking out Surface Weeds
The answer to long term weed control in a seedbed is to eliminate the developing weed seedlings on the surface without bringing up a fresh batch of seeds. Using a Garden Hoe that has an upright handle when the blade is flat on the ground makes this job quick and easy because it cuts through the soil like a razor.
Watch how efficient and easy it is to use our Garden Hoe:
Running a hoe throughout the bed in the top 1 inch or so of soil every 7-10 days is the key. Doing this easy chore weekly until the seedlings are big enough to mulch (3-5 inches) will totally eliminate a spring headache.
Once the seedlings can be mulched your hoeing chores are over. Your bed will be virtually weed free in spring from the work you’ve done in the past fall.
For Weed-Free Seedbeds:
- Hoe weekly that exhausted the weed seed population in the top 1 inch
- Mulch that blocks light to any remaining weed seeds
- Once the plants begin to grow and fill out in spring this also shades out any young weeds trying to sprout.
Keep it Weed Free!
Lisa Mason Ziegler is a commercial cut-flower farmer in Newport News, Virginia; she lectures and writes about organic and sustainable gardening. You can email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org , call her at 757-877-7159 or visit her website www.shoptgw.com.