Dre Campbell Farm
17 Natural Ways To Keep Weeds Out Of Garden

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17 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Weeds

Even for the casual gardener, weeds are a major problem. Plus, getting rid of them can prove to be equally, if not more annoying.

They can sprout out of garden beds and pots or randomly between the cracks of concrete driveways.

With that said, there are countless products on the market for removing weeds; however, they are sometimes expensive or perhaps not suitable for organic gardening.

Here’s how to get rid of weeds naturally.

1. Mulch

Mulch helps to keep the soil cool and moist. It also prevents weeds from receiving much-needed light.

Even better, if you make use of organic mulches, you invite such helpful bugs as crickets and carabid beetles which feed on the seeds.

Just be sure to replenish it regularly.

2. Essential Oils

Essential oils can stop weeds from ruining your garden or driveway.

Natural oils like winter savory, thyme, peppermint, and anise, when applied, can serve as effective bioherbicides [1].

These oils inhibit seed germination, so be careful with them around your food crops.

3. Vinegar 

Vinegar is versatile and has many uses inside your home; however, you can use it outdoors too. The acid it contains makes it an effective organic weed killer.

To eliminate weeds with vinegar, simply combine one gallon of vinegar with a tablespoon of organic liquid soap in a bottle with a spray nozzle. It’s an excellent remedy to kill weeds and grass naturally.

4. Cover Crops 

These beneficial plants are otherwise called ‘green manure’.

In reality, it’s the practice of planting a large batch of thick crops that exist to choke the bad guys and steal their nutrients before they can mature.

The farmer then plows or turns them under when the time comes to plant other crops. Great cover crops include alfalfa, cowpea, buckwheat, oats, and rye.

5. Boiling Water

Pouring scalding hot water on weeds will cause them to dry up and die.

They will wither and change to a yellowed color, meaning, you can remove them. This natural weed killer option requires no additional tools or ingredients.

Nearby plants will also be safe as the water is likely to cool down without causing them any damage.

6. Pull Them Out

This is one of the best and cheapest ways to remove weeds organically. However, before you go ripping out the unwanted buds, there are some precautions to take.

Unwanted plants can be difficult to pull up. There is also the risk of damaging the root systems of the flowers and plants you want to keep.

To avoid this, it’s best to pull them when the ground is still moist. Pull them out slowly, and make sure your hands are protected.

If you’re skilled, using a machete to dig under the roots while pulling on them makes it a whole lot easier. This is what people call “organic weeding”.

7. Newspaper or Cardboard

This non-chemical process is also known as smothering. Because newspaper/cardboard is opaque, it will stop oxygen and sunlight from passing through.

Without these vital sources of energy, the bad apples will be unable to continue growing while also stopping any new ones from springing up.

After laying down the wet newspaper on the weeds, cover it with a layer or two of mulch to further block sunlight.

As a bonus, as the material breaks down, it adds organic matter into the soil, so it’s a two-for-one deal for your vegetable garden.

You really can’t go wrong with this setup. Just be careful not to smother your crops as well.

8. WeedGuard Plus

Similar to landscape fabric, this is an organic alternative that stands an excellent chance of preventing them from attaining the room and light they need to grow.

This special fabric is designed to smother the seeds before they get a chance to germinate.

It’s 100% biodegradable, fairly easy to apply, and doesn’t tear or stretch on a whim.

9. Set Them on Fire

Fire might seem like an extreme natural weed control solution but it’s quick, easy, and effective.

Of course, you want to exercise caution when using flammable devices. Using a small blowtorch, spread the flame, being very careful to target only what you want to eradicate.

You don’t have to focus the flame too much on the plants you want to destroy. The excess heat will trigger internal cell damage and cause them to wither.

10. Citrus Juice

This is a cost-effective organic weed control method that works relatively quickly and easily. Lime or lemon works great.

Add enough citrus juice into a spray bottle and begin coating them. The acid in the juice will burn them, causing them to wilt and dry up.

This method works great for smaller infestations that haven’t completely taken over your garden box.

11. Leave No Space

If you plant your flowers close enough, you should rarely have this problem.

For example, the walker’s low catmint is a gorgeous perennial that boasts a range of violet hues. Because it grows so thickly and widely so that light cannot pass through, there isn’t any room for weeds to develop.

12. Corn Gluten

When corn is processed, corn gluten is one of the byproducts. It can help stop seeds from germinating.

Additionally, it will act as a great organic fertilizer because it contains nitrogen.

13. DIY Herbicidal Spray

Another safe solution for killing grass and weeds naturally is horticultural vinegar and Epsom salt combo. It doesn’t matter what type or brand of Epsom salt you use.

Mix Epsom salt and vinegar at a 1:6 ratio until the salt dissolves completely. You can also add a tablespoon of organic liquid soap.

This is a very potent mixture as the horticultural grade is much stronger than regular household brands.

Spray this natural herbicide directly on whatever you don’t want, whether they are on sidewalks, pavers, or in your garden. Reapply a few times to achieve permanent results.

14. Borax 

Borax is a powdery white mineral that is generally used as a cleaning agent but can also be used as a homemade weed killer.

In a spray container, combine two gallons of water with 8 ounces of borax and coat troublesome areas.

Try to only saturate the leaves and not the actual ground. As a bonus, this will also kill ants.

15. Goats

Maybe your garden could stand to be a little cuter. Enter the classic — the beloved — the ever-hilarious goats.

These guys are lean, mean, weed-munching machines. They can reach almost any area they want, and best of all, they’ll till the soil with their hooves as they move.

It’s best to use them before planting, lest they mistake your harvest for a tasty treat.

16. Soil Solarization

Soil solarization is environmentally-friendly and organic. It uses heat from the sun to fry weeds and their seeds [2].

Besides, it will also destroy any bacteria and pests that may have gotten a foothold in the soil.

For the process, wet bare soil thoroughly with water before covering it over with clear plastic. Next, sink the edges of the plastic into the soil so air doesn’t get in.

Let it sit for over four weeks in the hot sun before removing the plastic.

Just be careful when using this method, as it’s entirely indiscriminate. You may wind up killing beneficial organisms as well as harmful ones.

Similarly, it could easily kill valuable pollinators and predators hunting down harmful pests, so use with caution and extreme care.

17. Avenger

This is a commercial product that is made from all-natural ingredients. Avenger is OMRI listed, fast-acting, and an excellent contact herbicide.

Takeaway 

You’ll find a variety of weeds everywhere you look, and some thrive better in certain areas than others. Regardless, they’re all annoying to deal with and they suck up valuable nutrients from your garden.

Andre Campbell

Organic farmer and co-founder of Dre Campbell Farm. He appreciates everything in nature -- sunshine, plants, animals, and human life.

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