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How to win the battle against weeds and make them useful

Weeding is most likely your least favorite job, but with the tips in this post you will never again think of them as useles!

By Nicole Hutten

How to win the battle against weeds and make them useful removing weeds from the garden

Weeds, no gardener can escape them. Especially in spring and summer when the weather is good, there seems to be no end to the battle against weeds. Therefore we are going to give you tips on how to prevent, remove and use weeds so you win the battle against weeds and make them useful. Did you know a lot of weeds are edible?

How to deal with perennial weeds

The most annoying weeds to get rid of are the perennial weeds that keep coming back. They grow sturdy vigorous roots in the ground. Removing the leaves above the ground does not help. If you want to burn these hardy weeds with a blowtorch, they often come back. This is because the root under the ground grows back. Burning is therefore not efficient in the short term. The best way to get rid of this type of weed is to remove it by digging them up, root and all. The easiest way to do this is with a trowel.

Prevention is better than cure so how do you prevent weeds?

Most weeds spread through seeds. The seeds can blow into your garden, spread as a gift by birds, or already present in the compost you buy. As soon as the conditions are right, in sunny and rainy weather, it starts to grow like crazy. 

To prevent the seed from spreading it is best to prevent weed plants from flowering. Maintain the ditches and roadsides around your garden so that weeds cannot flower.

Seeds that you get as a gift from pooping birds, you can’t do much about that, unfortunately. The birds also eat a lot of unwanted insects so you can better keep them as friends. Try not to feed them bird feed containing whole seeds in winter. The food for wild birds contains plant seeds that can give you a lot of nuisance in spring.

If you notice that there are a lot of weed seeds in your compost then it may help to cover the heap with a black tarp for a while. A warm compost heap will inactivate the seeds. If you have already spread the compost over your beds, you can easily cover it with a black tarp for a few weeks. In no time at all you will have beautiful dark and rich again, free of weeds!

How to win the battle against weeds and make them useful. stop flowering weeds spreading seeds into your garden
The wind will spread weed seeds into your garden. Prevent weeds from flowering.

How do you remove weeds and win?

If prevention has not been successful then luckily you can still remove them! The hardiest weeds as just mentioned are best removed from the garden by digging up the roots. This may not be the most fun and easy job, but it is very efficient.

The weeds that grow from germinated seeds can be hoeed. When you see a few warm, dry days in the forecast you can start hoeing. Because the small seedlings can’t tolerate much they are easy to control. By disturbing the roots in warm weather they dry out within a few hours. Therefore, for best results, you should hoe in dry and warm weather. 

Another effective method of controlling weeds is by picking. Picking some weeds every time you are in the garden makes it easier to keep them under control. It also feels like less work. We usually take a bucket into the garden and when we harvest we also pull some weeds. Or set a weekly alarm to remind you to weed the garden for just 15 to 30 minutes to keep your garden tidy.

Are these weeds? This is how you recognize weeds between your plants.

Do you like to sow annual flowers? Then it can be difficult to know what are seedlings and what not. At first, everything looks the same! To avoid hoeing or picking the wrong plants, you can sow seeds in a row. But before sowing, create some straight trenches in the soil or use a planting line. Sprinkle your seeds only along this line. Choose a distance where you can still easily hoe in between, this will save you a lot of hassle later on. Once everything starts to grow, you can easily see what you should and should not remove. Have you sown too much? You can easily thin out some young plants in the rows by hoeing or pulling them.

How to win the battle against weeds and make them useful, seedlings in a row.jpg
it’s easier to recognize your seedlings when you sow them in a row

What to do with removed weeds?

After removing weeds, you have to leave them somewhere. Can you only throw it in the green container? Absolutely not! Weeds can be very useful. If you make your own compost, you can put the weeds to good use. There are often many nutrients from the soil in the weeds, by composting them they stay in the garden (law of return). 

If the weeds contain a lot of seeds, you need a hot compost heap. To make a hot compost heap the container must be big enough, at least 1.25 by 1.25 meters. You can measure the temperature of the pile with a long compost thermometer. In a next article, we will tell you more about making your own compost.

You can also use weeds as fertilizer. You can make your own plant food according to the JADAM method. According to this method, you ferment the weeds in water to create your own liquid plant fertilizer. Next to composting, I think this is the best way to win the battle against weeds and make them useful at the same time!

The most useful and edible weeds

If you know how many types of weeds are useful and edible, you suddenly think a lot less negatively about them. Stinging nettle, for example, is an edible and useful weed. Many species can also tell you something about the quality of your soil. Some species only grow in very dry and nutrient-poor soil, while others prefer to grow in very heavy and compacted soil. Because we haven’t found enough clear information yet about what weeds can tell you, we won’t go into it any further for now. But the subject is definitely on the list! 

How to win the battle against weeds and make them useful stining nettle
stinging nettle is full of nutrients, making it perfect as JADAM fertilizer

Apart from stinging nettle, you can also eat other well-known weeds such as daisies, ground elder, plantain, chickweed, and knapweed. Pick the weeds you want to eat only where you can trust them, e.g. in your own vegetable garden. Not only we can enjoy weeds, but bees also love their flowers!

What do you do to win the battle against weeds and make them useful?

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