Did you decide to dig up a garden from sod this spring, but you also do not want to use any chemicals to get the plot cleared of weeds and grasses? We did! And now, we are dealing with the fact that the weeds and the grasses do not want to stop growing in the area we dug up. Sound familiar? Today I wanted to share with you some of my tips and experiences in being able to successfully weed a newly planted garden until the plants can get established.
Weed a Newly Planted Garden
Here are my top four tips for how to successfully weed a newly planted garden:
Tip #1 – Invest in (or rent) a tiller
In order to cut into sod and get your garden started, you will need a tiller. We decided to invest in this front tine tiller. But, not only will the tiller prove to come in handy when getting the garden plot started (which may take two or three passes with the tiller), if you are going to sow plants in intervals to extend your harvest, or you are like me and it is taking you multiple weeks to finish planting your garden, you are going to want the tiller to re-dig up the areas you haven’t planted yet. Because, trust me, the grass and weeds come back FAST. I would say that if you haven’t planted an area within a week of the initial till, you are going to want to go over the area with your tiller again.
Tip #2 – Put the weeding tools down
Aside from the tiller and using it to dig up areas that have not been planted, once you have planted an area, resist the urge to take the hoe to dig up all those nasty weeds and grass in your newly planted garden. Once you seedlings and plants get established, by all means, use whatever tool you want that gets around the vegetation. But, when those seedlings are so new, it will be REALLY tough to use a rake or other tool to keep the weeds at bay without damaging your crop. That’s right folks, I am suggesting you weed your garden by hand, at least for the first couple of weeks.
Tip #3 – Focus on plants first and your paths second
Weeding by hand can take a LOT of time. Trust someone who has ambitiously been working on a garden that is 40 feet by 60 feet. Therefore, focus on weeding the rows of plants first and worry about your walking paths last. Eventually some of your plants will grow tall enough to shade out those paths anyways and will do the weeding work for you.
Tip #4 – Plant in straight rows to be able to find your plants
Growing up, my dad always planted a large garden. But, I do not remember him using a lot of seeds – for the most part, he purchased and planted established plants from the local nursery. So, one of my biggest fears after placing my seeds in the ground was not being able to find or properly identify the seedlings as they popped through the soil. I had no idea what sweet corn was going to look like coming up, for example. It didn’t help that when I asked Graham what sweet corn would look like coming up he told me, “It looks like grass.” Well, if you plant your seeds in straight rows – your seedlings will break through the soil in straight rows. When you go to weed once the seedlings emerge initially, just look for similar looking plants that seem to be spaced evenly apart sprouting up along the line you planted them in.
One of the BEST things we bought for the garden this year was a twine garden guide that I could place on either side of the garden, then dig the row against, and end up knowing my seeds were being planted in a straight row.
And just for reference, here is what corn, beans, and peas (respectively) look like as they emerge from the soil:
Tell me in the comments section – what is your best garden weeding tip?
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