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The Word of the Week: Weeds

Gardeners can't escape this organic and often unruly visitor.

 

At this point in the season, the garden growth should be in full swing, but mother nature often throws a wrench into the best laid plans: weeds. And don't be fooled. Every gardener has to deal with this overgrown annoyance. Some are just better and more diligent than others. There are many great and often easy solutions to this problem. Read on.

The Mulch Mat

One simple method that can accomplish a few goals in one step is to add a thick, two to three inch layer of organic mulch (50 percent peat moss) around plants. If the coating is thick enough, the plants won't be able to pop through and will end up rotting and even supplementing the soil with its organic matter. Talk about two birds with one stone!

But the benefits of a mulch mat does not stop there. That cover will also help trap moisture around the base of the plant and its roots helping to reduce the plant's need for water during the height of the summer days.

While this technique is virtually foolproof, there may be an occasional stubborn weed that pops through and those will need to be dealt with the old fashioned way. These instances should be few, however, and still leaves only a visit to the garden each day or two for some minor tweaking.

Pulling by Hand

While the mulch mat is a great comprehensive solution to the weed puzzle, some gardeners may  use weeding as a source of exercise or even as a therapeutic hobby. Keep in mind, however, that every time a weed is pulled, the roots to the adjacent plant are disturbed making them more susceptible to drying out and stunting their growth. Plants can be very temperamental and once they have established their roots, they can easily be disturbed during their active growth and flowering phases.

Weeds are often the demise of many gardeners, but they can be tamed and subdued whether it be by a layer of mulch or a commitment to daily care. Whatever method used to deal with these organic pests, embrace the challenge.

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