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 organic gardener, weeds can be a big problem. Plus, getting rid of them can prove to be equally, if not more annoying.

They can sprout out of vegetable garden beds, flower pots, or out of your lawn. However, there are many natural home remedies and organic control means to deal with the problem.

Here’s how to get rid of weeds naturally.

1. Mulch

Mulch helps to keep the soil cool and moist. You can use it to get rid of a large area of weeds as it prevents them 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.

Keep replenishing it and you will get rid of the problem forever.

2. Essential Oils

Essential oils can stop weeds from ruining your garden, flower bed, 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 ​acetic acid in it makes it an effective natural weed killer.

To eliminate weeds with vinegar, simply combine one gallon of 15-20% 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 

Cover cropping is the practice of planting crops to cover the soil. These plants can choke weeds and steal their nutrients before they can mature.

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

5. Boiling Water

Pouring hot water on weeds will cause them to dry up and die. They will wither and die in 24 to 48 hours.

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

One of the easiest ways to get rid of weeds organically from your lawn and vegetable garden is to pull them out. Pulling them is not a waste of time; however, before you go ripping them out, 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 light from passing through.

Without sunlight, the weeds 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 newspaper breaks down, it adds nutrients to 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 weeds from attaining the room and light they need to grow.

This special fabric is designed to smother weed 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. Flaming

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.

10. Citrus Juice

Citrus juice is a cost-effective organic weed control remedy that works relatively quickly and easily. Lime or lemon works great.

Add enough citrus juice into a spray bottle and begin coating the weeds. 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 weed problems.

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

12. Corn Gluten Meal

Corn gluten meal can help stop weed seeds from germinating [2]. 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 the 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 vinegar.

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. Goats

Another way to get rid of a yard full of weeds without chemicals is to utilize 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 these animals before planting, lest they mistake your harvest for a tasty treat.

15. Soil Solarization

Soil solarization is environmentally friendly and organic. It uses heat from the sun to fry weeds and their seeds [3]. Besides, solarizing will also destroy soil-borne plant pathogens.

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.

16. Avenger

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

17. 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.

Takeaway 

You’ll find a variety of weeds everywhere you look, and some thrive better in certain areas than others.

Regardless, they can be very annoying to deal with and they suck up valuable nutrients from your garden. Use the natural methods above to control or eliminate them entirely.

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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