Unwanted weeds are invading your beds and paths? Mulching, ground cover plants, natural weed killers … There are several ways to prevent their appearance and to practice ecological weeding.
Bindweed, quackgrass, horsetail, nettle, dandelion … The “weeds” are actually nothing bad, but they spoil the impeccable aisles and tidy vegetable gardens. They also have a very strong root system and tend to proliferate. It is unfortunately difficult to get rid of it once and for all, but one can limit their impact thanks to these natural weeding methods.
Hoe, weeder … Many gardening tools allow you to burn weeds without (getting) tired. For a small area, opt for a weeding knife or simply pull the plants out by hand. For a larger surface, the cultivator (motorized or not) is less tiring. The latter crumbles the soil with its claws and thus pulls out the weeds if their roots are not too deep.
Hoeing also aerates the soil and destroys certain parasite larvae. Remember to practice hoeing before the plants flower: once in flower, the dandelion can spread its seeds up to 10 km away!
Ground cover plants
Undemanding in terms of maintenance, ground cover plants occupy the ground and smother any weeds. They form cushions of very dense vegetation which stabilize the soil, while creating aesthetic borders between flower beds or shrubs. We can cite the geranium, the witch’s claws, the epimedium, the woodruff, the tapestry charcoal, the cistus creeper or the cotoneaster. Choose according to the location (shade or sun) and the desired flowering.
Mulching involves covering the soil with a plant cover to prevent weeds from growing. By disintegrating, it also provides plants with organic matter, limits runoff and prevents evaporation. There are different types of mulching (wood bark, cocoa pods, flax flakes, gravel, pozzolan …) that will be chosen according to the type of soil or the surface to be covered. You can also buy plastic tarpaulins, which are easy to install and offer thermal protection, but are unattractive. Apply mulch at the end of winter (mid-February), when the weeds have not yet grown.
When you prepare the soil in preparation for sowing, you create the conditions for germination, which promotes both the development of flowers and vegetables but also weeds. Plants then find themselves competing for water and nutrients. False sowing consists in working the soil as if we were going to sow (plowing, hoeing …) about 15 days before the real sowing, which makes the seeds of undesirable plants emerge which can then be removed as soon as they appear. Disadvantage: the sowing of real plants is delayed and the soil remains without plant cover for a few weeks.
Boiling cooking water: rich in starch that blocks the pores of leaves, hot water (unsalted and not boiling) from cooking pasta, rice or potatoes instantly destroys the foliage of plants. On the other hand, it is not very effective on deep roots and kills auxiliary insects present in the soil. To be used especially for gravel paths or between pavers. For large areas, another practical solution is to use a steam cleaner.
White vinegar: biodegradable, white vinegar destroys the surface membrane of plants which protects them from UV rays. Added with black soap or dishwashing liquid to promote its adhesion, it is sprayed on the leaves of weeds. Vinegar, on the other hand, has no effect on the roots and tends to acidify the soil if used too frequently.
Sodium bicarbonate: safe for the environment, sodium bicarbonate is generally used for its action against fungi and insects, but at high concentration, it is also phytotoxic. Sprinkle the bicarbonate at the base of the weeds at a rate of 20 g / m2 maximum. Warning ! this method is non-selective: your cultivated plants risk being “burned” at the same time!
Banish, however, salt, bleach or plant manure (comfrey, nettle, fern …): non-selective, these products not only destroy all essential plants and microorganisms, but degrade also the soil and pollute the environment.