Why digging out weeds can be a mixed blessing ?…….
On the positive side, we finished the day with a clean and tidy surface on our beds salads, which is great !!! and we have removed lots of weeds and roots from the soil , that we don’t need, also great ! , plus the action of digging will also aerate the soil and allow us to introduce organic matter if needed on the soil. And later the unwanted weeds will be taken on the wheelbarrow to our compost area to be recycled…..so far so good !……
But on the other hand, the soil movement can bring new weed seeds to the surface of the soil where there will soon germinate, starting the weeding circle again, which is hard work ! and the digging action can also chop the roots of perennial weeds such us couch grass and spread their coverage, so not so beneficial either …….
Still, Weeding management is both beneficial and necessary in a vegetable plot.
To make life easier we could use mulching on top the soil to reduce the need for so much weeding, and cover the paths too, mainly because the majority of weeds grow in the path and then spread to the beds, most of the time we pull weeds out of the beds and they end up in the path, making weeding a demanding never ending task. There are many eco-friendly materials we could use for our pathways than can serve as a weed barrier like cardboard and hay, wood chip, pavers, old carpets, etc
To avoid the hard labour of weeding outside on the fields, we are using “mypex” to cover the soil.
Mypex is a woven plastic fabric that cuts out most of the light but through which you can grow plants, it also warms the soil and it is reusable for several seasons. In my opinion it didn’t look very eco-friendly the first time I saw it , as it is expensive and hard to manage, at the same time, the long time labour of making holes or openings for planting out different vegetables, setting it up on the fields, and holding it in place with heavy sacks full of soil, seem like a nightmare. But it is probably an easy option, and much better than using a weed poison killer like some non organic farmers do. Another good point to save labour later on is that we can put an irrigation system underneath to water more efficiently , and we won’t have to do any weeding on those crops, the only problem we can encounter maybe later on are pests control, or damage to the plants due to water-logging, if it rains a lot like last summer.