March 11: Organic weed control

“Control” is a strong word when talking about a weed in the sub-tropic Gulf South. Is there really any such thing as controlling the weeds, especially if you’re all organic? I mean, really? It’s more of a constant battle with a moving line of scrimmage.

Between the part-time help and elbow grease of the WWOOFers, we spend hours each week pulling weeds. The pulled greenery is either mulched back into the field or fed to the chickens.

This works out great for feeding the hens. They used to forage freely but then the coyotes found them. Coyotes will take a hen in mid-day with you and your useless dog clearly visible. The hens still forage occasionally but on a random schedule and only when watched closely.

Cardboard being placed around blueberries to organically keep the weeds down.

We’ve tried a myriad of ways to control weeds in the berry field: mulch cloth, pine bark, pine needles, leaves, and lawn clippings. Some methods work, and some don’t. Mulch cloth was the worst–an expensive exercise in how to grow lots of choking weeds that could not be pulled up. Our method right now is a combo of hand pulling, a layer of cardboard on the ground, and leaf or pine bark litter mulched on top.

Weed cloth was a waste of time and money, harboring weeds, fire ants, and damaging the roots–seen here–of the berry bushes.

Weeding and mulching are a year around, endless task, in both the berry field and the kitchen garden. The pulled weeds supplement the chickens. And for now, with the use of a lot of cardboard that is otherwise waste, we’ve made great headway in weed control in a way that is safe for the environment.

How do the other gardeners out there control their weeds? Leave a comment with your methods and ideas to let us know.

Published by c ben-iesau

From L.A. to LA... I'm a New Orleans based artist and writer.

One thought on “March 11: Organic weed control

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: