How often have we cursed the problem of weeds in our gardens and raised beds, to be honest, I would say every single day. It seems that no sooner had we carried out the task of weeding when we noticed that they are appearing again after a couple of days or so. It’s a perienniel problem that never goes away and unfortunately, no matter how much maintenance we do in this area, it seems that they come back with a vengeance in greater numbers. People have tried several methods to deal with this issue, some having an element of success, some eliminating the issue completely and others then with very little success.
The problem with weeding, digging and maintaining our gardens and raised beds is, unfortunately weeds are everywhere in our soil and the more we cultivate and till our soil, sadly the nearer we bring these weed seeds to the surface and thus gives them a greater chance to germinate. Not only are weeds an issue in our soil, but the problem is that wild birds will bring them in to our gardens and also the wind will blow them from afar, thus exacerbating the problem even more. If we get a load of topsoil from another source, the likelihood is that this soil will be infected with weeds as well. In this post we will look at effective tips for weed control in our raised beds and gardens and endeavour to deal with this issue for good.
Mulching our raised beds;
One of the easiest ways of overcomming the issue of weeds is to lay down a good layer of say, 4-6 inches of good quality mulch. This mulch could be made from leaves, straw, compost, grass cuttings or hedge clippings. Its important that this mulch is somewhat composted and that it had been put aside for a period of time, preferably in a compost heap. The idea is that this forms a good solid weed barrier, so as to suppress weeds completely. As soon as our vegetables or plants have started to shoot and mature, then this time is ideal for this exercise. ( leave the stems of the veggies free from mulch in order for them to breathe and grow )The mulching has many purposes in its armoury in that not only does keep the weeds at bay, it conserves the moisture in the soil, thus eliminating the task of watering and eventually it will enrich the soil when it fully decomposes.
Weed barrier in our raised beds.
One other great method of suppressing weeds is to put down a sheet of weed barrier on top of the soil. This needs to be done after we have enriched the soil of our raised beds.There is a little extra work in this process, but this method is pretty effective in keeping the weeds issue at bay. The sheet of weed barrier is porus to a point in that it allows the rainwater to penetrate through to the soil, but it prevents weeds from growing through. This sheet is predominantely black in colour and the reason is that it also prevents light from getting through to the weeds, which is also a prevention of sorts. Weeds need light and air to grow, so we have cut off all these resourses from them. In these raised beds we would grow vegetables individually, ie, cut little openings in the membrane sheet, plant our seedlings and cover up again around the stem of the plant.
Another great weed suppressor is bark mulch and this system is one of the most popular measures that a lot of gardeners like to use. The reason is that it’s so easy to apply to our raised beds and it’s relatively inexpensive to purchase. It can be bought in bags or by the trailer load, depending on how much we need for our gardens. Local authorities use this in their local greenways and public flower beds and they too have realised the benefits and advantages of using this material. It’s used for similar purposes to our own, mainly to eliminate the weeding scourge and reduce the maintenance workload.The fact that bark mulch will eventually decompose over time, so therefore, its another element of composting and enrichment for our soil.
Newspapers and cardboard as weed suppressor;
Have we ever thought of using old newspapers and old cardboard boxes for the elimination of weeds in our raised beds, well we now know that this is another great method for our gardening problems. Its a lazy way of disposing of our old newspapers up to a point. We layer down the papers and cardboard on a flat surface and then we can cover with any of the above methods that we have outlined. It’s important that we water the paper thoroughly before covering with either the weed barrier, mulch or bark mulch.
Pebble stones or rubber tire shreddings;
This idea can be used if we have a permanent flower bed or rose bed and we wish to make them maintenance free. This system really sets off our beds and it’s a great way of landscaping our back gardens or backyards. Again, its important to lay down a sheet of the porus membrane weed barrier and then cover over with the decorative pebble stones. Perhaps we have decided to plant a tree in the centre of our lawn and we want to make it attractive and also stand out as a garden feature, the aforementioned is a great method to complete this project. Rubber shreddings is another idea for this purpose, although not widely used, it still is effective for the above reasons.
All of the above methods are organic in nature, except for the rubber shreddings. So therefore all of these ideas are safe and there is no concern about using them. The rubber shreddings are not organic and therefore would not be ideal to use in the garden or our raised beds. The last thing we would want to be doing is to be spraying pesticides or weed killer chemicals on our garden to eliminate the weeds issue. No one wants to be ever seen to be using these or to even think about using these toxins on our vegetables, for obvious health and safety reasons. As ever we are social here at buildingraisedbeds.com and would love if have any comments or opinions on any of the above. Feel free to contact us through the comments section down below or if you prefer email us at….