Controlling Weeds the Organic Way

Controlling Weeds the organic way

Weeds are plants which tend to grow where you do not want them to grow. These are the plants that the gardener considers undesirable, but they still continue growing in the garden anyway and compete with your crops for nutrients and moisture. Controlling weeds can be really tricky, especially if you do not remove them as soon as they grow. Remember the bigger they become the harder it becomes to control them. So make sure you check for weeds in your garden at least once-a-week. Here are a few unique techniques you can use to control weeds.

1. Mulch

Mulch
Mulch

A thick mulch layer can really help prevent light from reaching the leaves of the weeds, and without light, the weeds will not produce enough chlorophyll to help them grow. So they will sicken and die with time. The few weeds that will survive will be shallowly-rooted and quite easy to uproot. Organic mulches like shredded-bark, grass clippings and straw are actually a better option. This is because they tend to decompose and nourish the garden. Live mulches are also becoming famous among various gardeners. Setting up live mulches is quite simple, all you have to do is plant a fast-growing-short-plant to help cover the soil-surface around your garden.

2. Sunlight

Sunlight
Sunlight

If you are ready to leave the garden fallow for approximately 6 weeks during the summer, then you can allow the sun to help you destroy all the persistent weeds. You can start in the late spring or beginning of summer, by raking, or pulling weeds from your garden and then moisten it before burying the edges or covering it with plastic. Leave it for six weeks and by the time you uncover the garden, the sun will have already killed most of the weeds that will have germinated.

3. Apply corn gluten meal

Apply Corn Gluten Meal
Apply Corn Gluten Meal

You can apply corn-gluten meal over the region where the weeds tend to grow as pre-emergent weed-killer at the beginning of the season. This works perfectly for sprouting weeds and once this stage is passed, this meal becomes ineffective. And since it is not picky avoid applying this meal in regions where you have sown. Corn gluten meal works perfectly against crabgrass and dandelions among other weeds.

4. Hoeing

Hoeing
Hoeing

Weeds tend to die when their stems are detached from their roots right below the soil- level. So you can use a really sharp hoe to detach the weeds. The best tool for this job is a swan-neck or oscillating hoe and not the normal square-headed hoe.

5. Pour vinegar on the weeds

You can pour horticultural vinegar on the weeds to kill them. Remember the horticultural vinegar is 20% vinegar while the regular vinegar is 5% vinegar, so make sure you purchase the horticultural vinegar to help you with controlling weeds. This is actually one of the best weed controlling methods around because it works faster than the weeding chemicals. Vinegar tends to kill both the weed and its roots. Vinegar also works much faster during sunny days as compared to rainy or cloudy days. While pouring vinegar make sure you avoid pouring it on your plants.

Controlling Pests and Harmful Bugs Organically

What to Do When Bugs Bug You : Controlling Pests and Harmful Bugs Organically

Insects and their larvae are the worst troublemakers in the garden. They can ruin your harvest and lay your best efforts to waste. Chemical pesticides are a no-no if you growing your fruits and vegetables organically. Besides, they may be harmful to the environment and dangerous to you and your family. Fortunately, there are alternative ways to kill pests and harmful bugs safely and organically. Here are some of the things that you can do to get rid of the nasty critters:

Drown Them!

Drown Them
Drown Them

You can manually remove bugs and worms off the plants and put them into a bucket of water until they drown. You can then feed them to chickens, ducks, and other fowl or simply throw them away. If you’re not going to feed them to animals, you can kill the pests more easily by squirting some dish washing liquid to the water.

Keep Them Away!

Keep Them Away
Keep Them Away

You can use floating row covers to keep some bugs out. These covers are made of translucent polyester fabric that lets up to 80 percent of sunlight in while shielding plants from harmful insects. Use row covers to protect seedlings. However, you should use other methods to deter insects when plants are in the latter stages of their growth, especially when they need insects to pollinate them.

Spray Them!

Spray Them
Spray Them

Not with chemical pesticide. You can make your own natural bug spray by mixing some water, minced garlic, hot peppers and some mint leaves and heating the mixture until it almost boils. Let the liquid sit overnight. Strain the liquid and add a few squirts of dish washing liquid. Make sure that you use protective gear when using the spray.

The spray is not poisonous, but it is very irritating. It repels bugs and it may even kill pests if they come into contact with the spray. The spray is spicy so make sure that you don’t use the spray before you harvest your produce.

Soap Them!

An Insecticidal Soap has Fatty Acids that Dissolve the Skin of Insects.
An Insecticidal Soap has Fatty Acids that Dissolve the Skin of Insects.

An insecticidal soap has fatty acids that dissolve the skin of insects. It only works when insects come into contact with the soap while it is liquid, so it will only kill the existing bugs in your garden. It will not deter the insects that are about to invade your garden. Insecticidal soaps can be harsh on some plants, so make sure that you test the soap on a few plant leaves before using it. Check for damage after 48 hours. If the soap did not hurt the leaves, you may spray it on the entire plant.

Lure Them!

Lure Them
Lure Them

Some insects lure the opposite sex with pheromones, which are aromatic substances that these critters secrete. Scientists have been able to replicate natural pheromones and use them against harmful insects. While pheromones do not kill harmful bugs, you can use them to find out whether there are pests in your area so you can take measures to control them. They are especially useful for moths whose larvae are notorious garden pests.

Trap Them!

Trap Them
Trap Them

Some insects are attracted to certain colours. To make your own trap, use a wooden board or a rigid cardboard. Paint it with the colour that the pests are attracted to and coat the board with a sticky substance such as Tangle-Trap, which is specially made for trapping insects. Light blue traps are for flower thrips. White attracts cucumber beetles (shake and brush the branches as you go), flea beetles, and white flies. Yellow traps are for fruit flies, leaf hoppers, midges, and aphids.

Make Them Sick!

Make Them Sick
Make Them Sick

You can use germ warfare to keep harmful bugs at bay. Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterium that naturally grows in the soil, releases a protein that causes the larvae of insects to stop feeding. The infected larvae die within a few days. You can buy the bacteria as a liquid or as a powder that you can dissolve in water. Some people have reported allergic reactions to the bacteria, so wear protective gear when you spray the bacteria onto plants and make sure that you do not inhale any of it.

These Seven Methods are Proven to be Safe and Effective
These Seven Methods are Proven to be Safe and Effective

There are many more ways to control garden pests and harmful bugs besides using chemical pesticides, but these seven methods are proven to be safe and effective. They are environmentally friendly, too. The next time pests attack your garden, check back on this list. One of these methods may just save your plants and you from a lot of trouble.