How to Control Weeds Organically

Spring is well and truly here! We are seeing our plants thrive, unfortunately the weeds are also making the most of the ideal growing conditions. So here goes, the battle of the weeds.

Many of us have children and pets to be mindful of - and are considerate of our environment and wildlife too. Chemicals are not an option then.

Here's our tips on controlling weeds naturally

The best way to control weeds is to stop them in their tracks while they're young, or avoid them becoming established at all.

  • Turn the soil well and pull out as many weed seedlings as possible by hand. If you have chooks, now's the time to let them run about on this patch!

  • Add some blood and bone mix, this encourages composting and the breakdown of the weeds.

  • Cover your area with thick plastic, cardboard, old carpet (upside down) or several layers of newspaper. This generates heat and steam, preventing seed from germinating and kills the weeds. Secure with stones or pegs if needed.

  • Follow with a layer of mulch and leave undisturbed for 4-8 weeks if using plastic or 3-4 months if using newspaper. When you're ready to plant, the soil will be well composted and loaded with nutrients. Simply loosen the soil and plant your young plants. Don't forget to apply a good layer of mulch after, this will also slow the weeds down.

  • There are also commercial membranes you can use if you're in a hurry. Roll them over the ground, cut cross-slits in where you want to plant, peel back the membrane and put the plant in. You'll need to weed the areas where the membrane has been slit, of course.

For everyday weed control :

  • Boiling water works especially well for weeds with deep roots in hard to reach areas, think rockeries and between pavers.

  • Use kitchen ingredients. Pour 1/2 cup of table salt into a 500ml spray bottle, fill with white vinegar and shake to dissolve the salt. Spray on problem areas. Do this on still days, not breezy ones to avoid spraying on your favourite plants.

  • A painstaking method of controlling weeds which we are all familiar with is the old knife or fork! We've got a purpose-built weeder if you don't want to ruin your cutlery.

  • Traditional Dutch hoes are great at keeping weeds at bay if you use them regularly. They're nimble enough to get between rows of veggies or around herbaceous plants. Slice the tops off the weeds before they can get big, flower and set seed.

  • Try planting vigorous dense-growing groundcovers  like Trachelospermum (star jasmine), gazania, grevillea, and hibbertia - these will outgrow the weeds in no time.

If you do find yourself fighting a losing battle trying to control weeds, consider using a natural herbicide like Slasher. Even if this is just until your plants are established and covering ground.

Until next time… Happy gardening!