We’ve found that adding mulch is the quickest way to make your flower bed look extra pro. In some places of the world, the dirt is nice and soft, but here, our dirt looks like rubble rocks. If you spent the time and effort to plant some pretty flowers, let’s get our money’s worth!
First, you will need to obtain some mulch. We do this through our local garden store. This whole cart of mulch is less than $20.
Next, you need to prepare the ground for mulching. You can level out the ground a bit with a sturdy rake or hoe. Get your plants in the dirt. If you are discouraging a particularly nasty weed, lay down some black weed control fabric.
Finally, add your mulch! You will need to cover the ground evenly with several inches of mulch. Be sure to use gloves so you don’t get slivers!
Not only does it add some nice contrast to make your flowers really stand out, mulch also discourages weeds and helps water control! Big fans.
The unknown is one of the most terrifying things in the world. Possibly because we can’t see it. We are in the dark. Reaching your arm into a bunch of plants to clear them out is pretty scary. Who knows what is living in there. But we learn from Dumbledore: “You know happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.”
So instead of being paralyzed by the thought of weird bugs flying out at you, let’s turn on the light.
The secret is to start on the outside, and just start cutting what you can see. It will start to thin out, and you’ll be able to see more and more.
As you see more, you will feel a bit more comfortable with pulling and clipping, and you can work your way down to the base and roots. It will take some time, but you can do it!
Our soil solarization experiment was going well. It was very hot out, and after 2 weeks, we decided to move the tarp to another area. We failed to take a picture, but we were very pleased to see that the weeds under the tarp had in fact died. We were very optimistic.
But after a couple days of multiple inches of rain, we are sorry to report that the weeds appear to be making their return.
For curiosity’s sake, we peeked under the currently tarped area. Growing under there is an army of giant crickets, and some funk. The weeds haven’t quite fully died, and its a moist mess.
Hopefully we will start to dry out a little bit by next weekend, and we can launch another attack. For now, we shall hide from the cricket monsters, and try to find something to do with these similarly giant okra.
In soil solarization, you harness the sun’s energy to kill weeds and bad insects/fungus/bacteria, which allows the good stuff to take over. It bakes the dirt into something more palatable to growing gardens. The term is fancy talk for “putting a tarp on some dirt.”
We have been fighting this pesky vine plant that is growing on part of our future garden plot. As diligent as we have been with pulling them up and spraying them, they just keep coming back and I hate them. So we decided to take things large scale and kill them all at once (in large square sections).
To try soil solarization for yourself, you need:
Big tarp (preferably clear)
Something to hold tarp in place
Lots of sun/heat
1. Ideally, rake the area and pull and discard any weeds. Next, wet the area at least 12 inches deep. We sprayed ours with a hose for a little while. Enough for it to boil the weeds.
2. Get out your tarp.
3. Lay out the tarp to cover area, and then anchor in place. We used some rocks and pieces of wood.
4. Wait. Since it is still hot weather here, and will be for a while longer, the sun should work in our favor to help us out. We plan on rotating the tarp around the area, and crossing our fingers real hard.
If you aren’t feeling up to the work-out of pulling weeds with your muscles, we turn to our handy spray bottle. Since our goal is to always stay cool and organic, our reusable spray bottle is filled with 20% vinegar, which you can get at garden stores, or pretty much anywhere.
So the strategy here is to spray the weeds. We douse them in vinegar. One of the drawbacks here is that it works best and quickest at the hottest part of the day. You can hear them sizzle in the sun.
If you have a large patch of weeds, be sure to take a break for fresh air, and not spray into the wind. That vinegar is nasty stuff in the eyes. After they are good and sprayed, then comes the waiting.
In a couple hours or a longer length of time, the weeds turn pale and crispy. They will be much weaker and easier to pull up now, or will eventually disintegrate into nothing, if you are being super lazy about it.
Just be careful where you spray. Vinegar only knows how to kill. It doesn’t care what. So if you spray a flower, it will do the same thing to it as a weed. We use a piece of cardboard as a shield if we are spraying around plants.
Spraying weeds sounds like the easier way out, but being out in the afternoon summer sun, combined with the real fear of getting a cramped trigger finger, and mixed with the impatience of waiting until the plants die, can make it just as hard. Weeding is just hard. Weeds are sorry not sorry about it.
There are many different ways to get rid of weeds. Today we’ll talk about one of the more obvious ways- pulling them out of the ground with your hands.
Here is a weed growing in some rocks. We don’t want it to grow there, so let’s get rid of it.
When pulling a weed out of the ground, you need to locate its main root, the one that is attaching it to the ground and bankrolling its life.
Grasp it at the root base firmly, and then finagle it out of the ground. The goal is to get as much of the root as possible.
Be sure to try to get as much of the roots as possible. If you just get the peripheral leaves and appendages, you are just pruning it, and it can still continue to grow.
It is sometimes easier to weed without gloves, because you can get a better grip. Weeding by hand is good if you are weeding around other plants, or if you want the plant gone immediately. Its also good if you feel like tearing something to shreds. It does require a bit of time and muscle, but think of it as a good workout.
Weeding by hand is instant gratification. The weed is now gone, and depending on how much of the roots were removed, will not return to pester you again. Don’t worry though. Another one will pop up somewhere to laugh at you soon.