The earth does not like to be naked. If you leave the earth naked it will clothe itself – with weeds. The solution in the garden is to clothe the earth around your plants with some sort of ground cover to help suppress the growth of any weeds. The best type of ground cover is cardboard and mulch.
Start by laying down a few layers of cardboard between your plants.
Then, cover the cardboard with thick layers of shredded wood chips to act as a mulch. Use a natural organic mulch that has not been treated with stains or colors. This will suppress the growth of weeds. This will also extend your growing season by creating a blanket on the ground keeping the soil cooler in the hot summer months and warmer in the colder months. The cardboard and mulch will allow water and air through so the soil can breathe and drink. This blanket also creates a more hospitable environment for earthworms further enriching the soil. The cardboard and mulch will eventually decompose and need to be reapplied. This “composting-in-place” will add more nutrients to the soil.
Some manual weeding will still need to be done. Plan on spending fifteen minutes every day in your garden pulling weeds. The key is consistency here. If you remove weeds on a regular basis they will not get deeply rooted and will not get a chance to get out of control. View this activity not as a chore but rather, as a pleasure. This is actually very therapeutic and good physical exercise. You will find that you enjoy it once you get out there – especially when you see the results and can take pride in your efforts.
Another solution for weeds is to create a salt spray. Here is the recipe:
1 gallon of vinegar
1 cup of salt (this can be table salt, Epsom salts, or pool salts)
1 Tablespoon of natural liquid dish soap
Using a long spoon mix all ingredients well in a bucket until all the salt is dissolved. Using a funnel pour the solution into a spray bottle. Spray on all the leaf surfaces of the weeds on a sunny, dry day. This is a safe, natural, and effective alternative to toxic herbicides. Use on weeds in the cracks of your sidewalk or driveway or other areas where you do not wish anything to grow for a few months. This solution will kill the weeds but, it does not damage the soil. The effects of this salt spray will eventually wear off and will need to be occasionally reapplied as needed.