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3
Jun

Weed Control Fabric for Gardening

by Tiffany in Gardening

With all the rain here lately it has meant that our seedlings and transplants took a bit longer to get outside. That was okay with us because my husband couldn’t build my raised bed until this past week either. Since we have a smaller, open yard now we decided to grow food in a couple raised beds (building them ourselves) and in pots and planters on our backyard deck. We will be growing heirloom varieties of tomato, peppers, sugar snap peas, snow peas, lettuce greens, and carrots. Yum!

The single most frustrating part of gardening for me has always been weeding. It takes only days for weeds to take root and make the garden unsightly as well as less healthy, since the weeds hog all the water. When we lived in Phoenix that black weed plastic was commonly used. You don’t see gardens that often there but weeds will ruin rock landscaping just as well as they ruin gardens. My parents used that black plastic frequently to try and curb the weeds.

Now of course I would never dream of using all that plastic for environmental reasons but I wasn’t all that familiar with eco friendlier options either. Dupont contacted me to offer me some of their Garden O.N.E® Weed Control Fabric and I was excited to give it a try. The fabric is similar in form and function to the infamous black plastic but this product is made of wood fiber and it is chemical free. Oh and it is biodegradeable as well. This is important because the plastic stuff always ripped eventually and had to be replaced to so if you will have to do touch ups anyway, why not use planet friendly materials? Both product types will do the job and prevent weeds but one will contribute to the health of the plants you want and one will not.

So…. we put two overlapping layers of the weed control fabric down so that we covered the bottom of the raised bed entirely and we let some hang out on all sides to keep weeds from growing along the side walls as well. Then we put a layer of stones on top of it for drainage. Next came the dirt… organic soil, organic peat moss, and our own homegrown compost made in our Worm Factory.

We have since moved over some seedlings we had into the bed and we still have some more to plant. We toyed with the idea of laying the fabric down on the very top and cutting holes for the plants but decided that was a bit too much work. We may still use strips of the fabric between rows and weight it down with rocks. We will see how much space is left. I am thinking we will use at least some on top though because the fabric will also help hold moisture in which can be important when it gets really hot.

Now we have a few more things to plant, a mesh fence or a lattice to put up along the back of our deck for the peas to climb on and we have a second, smaller bed we are constructing for my daughter… who wants to grow rainbow chard. That bed is even closer to the ground so the weed control fabric will be needed even more for that one.

If we someday end up back in Arizona and have a rock garden again instead of a real one I know exactly what we will using… weed control fabric! There is no greater pain in the butt than pulling weeds in 100 degree weather.

A winner has been selected at random to win the Gift card to Lowe’s. Congrats to Brit (the winner) and thanks everyone for your comments!!

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

96 Comments

  • Shannonmarye

    I have been researching like crazy for natural weed control.  The only thing I can find is vinegar but of course it is not selective, as should any natural product really be.  I guess elbow grease is the only way our yard and garden is going to be free of weeds.

  • http://wisdomofthemoon.blogspot.com/ Wendy

    I’ve found that newspaper (1/8 inch thick and wetted down so it doesn’t fly away) works just as well if you’re going to cover it with dirt anyway. And it’s free.  (No need to put me in the drawing; my beds are ready to go!)

  • DeeDee Varvara

    perfect timing!  im closing on a house at the end of the month and ive already laid out plans for raised beds in our new yard :)  never knew about this fabric though.  thanks for the giveaway offer!

    when i was little i would always remember that my dad used both wet newspaper and vinegar.  thankfully he’ll be helping me with my first real garden so im exited to start (even though im a little late in the season).

    on a non-weed related note – theres this cool site called sproutrobot.com that uses your zipcode to send you reminders of when to plant certain types of food :) one of my friends uses it and it looks really neat :)

    thanks again!

  • Anonymous

    My husband just is very persistent about pulling weeds.  

    mami2jcn at gmail dot com

  • Anonymous

    My husband just is very persistent about pulling weeds.  

    mami2jcn at gmail dot com

  • Anonymous

    My husband just is very persistent about pulling weeds.  

    mami2jcn at gmail dot com

  • DeeDee Varvara

    perfect timing!  im closing on a house at the end of the month and ive already laid out plans for raised beds in our new yard :)  never knew about this fabric though.  thanks for the giveaway offer!

    when i was little i would always remember that my dad used both wet newspaper and vinegar.  thankfully he’ll be helping me with my first real garden so im exited to start (even though im a little late in the season).

    on a non-weed related note – theres this cool site called sproutrobot.com that uses your zipcode to send you reminders of when to plant certain types of food :) one of my friends uses it and it looks really neat :)

    thanks again!

  • Courtney W

    We do it the old fashioned way–my husband hoes the weeds between rows in our garden. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Courtney W

    We do it the old fashioned way–my husband hoes the weeds between rows in our garden. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Courtney W

    We do it the old fashioned way–my husband hoes the weeds between rows in our garden. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Jenny

    We don’t have raised beds, but we lay down newspaper between the rows and top it with grass clippings. Works awesome! And then we till it into the ground, so it feeds the soil too!
    Thanks for the chance to win.

  • Barefoot in Suburbia

    Just using a raised bed, and good quality soil (with peat, compost, and an organic soil) is enough for us to control weeds.  Because the soil is so loose and good quality, it only takes a couple minutes to pull out the weeds, and no effort at all!

  • Cathy

    I like to use something I know will break down, either the landscape fabric, newspaper, or cardboard.  Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Sherig

    I’m putting in raised beds for the first time myself and have been wondering about what to put on the bottom of them. Like you, I live in Ohio and feel I’m running behind with all the rain we’ve had but I still want to do things right – your remark about pulling weeds in 100 degree temps reinforced the weed barrier for me. It doesn’t have to get to 100 degrees here – geez, only 80 and humidity is enough for me to dread weeding. Thanks for posting about this

  • Laura Lewis

    I’d love to try some of that!  Right now I just try to weed every day or every other day.  That way I get the weeds when they’re small, and they’re easy to pull.

  • Sheree

    I always end up just pulling weeds by hand, but I really don’t like doing it.  ;)

  • http://alittleclosereveryday.wordpress.com erin

    Get those weeds before they’re big and after a rain–easier to pull all the roots and easily identified before they flower and make a really big mess!

  • Hannah Gaitten

    I am about to go pull weeds for the next hour in my garden- which is about 1500 sq feet! Lots of weeds (and volunteer plants from last year that I dont want coming up where they are coming up.) It’s a lot of work, but it’s also my therapy- I love it!

  • http://alittleclosereveryday.wordpress.com erin

    Get those weeds before they’re big and after a rain–easier to pull all the roots and easily identified before they flower and make a really big mess!

  • Hannah Gaitten

    I am about to go pull weeds for the next hour in my garden- which is about 1500 sq feet! Lots of weeds (and volunteer plants from last year that I dont want coming up where they are coming up.) It’s a lot of work, but it’s also my therapy- I love it!

  • Dgurdog

    Great giveaway! count me in, please!

    I just go after the weeds with a hand shovel. I use it to dig a little around it. Helps me get to the weed faster and easier. 

  • Itsrenee

    Excellent giveaway =)  Weeds, weeds, weeds . . . what am I going to do with you.  I have nothing sexy to tell you, I just pull up out the of the ground, while wet and when small.  I use a troll type tool to help with the root.  If it is outside the garden bed I use hot water or distilled vinegar. 

     

  • Marla

    I just pull weeds by hand.  Luckily, my 6-year-old often thinks it’s fun to help.

  • Forsusann

    I like to use vigorous ground covers like sweet woodruff, sedum and pachysandra

    • Forsusann

      I forgot to mention, I also use a flamer – works wonders!!

  • Alcia Bayer

    We also use raised beds (and traditional gardens!  stuff is planted everywhere!) and I just use a thick layer of newspaper or even just a few inches of pulled weeds and then dirt.  Weeds have never been able to get through. 

    Another tip– if you pull weeds by hand, use them as mulch around the base of plants to keep any new weeds from sprouting.  Just make sure there are no weeds that have already gone to seed.  Rhubarb leaves also rock as weed-stifling mulch, when you harvest rhubarb stalks.

  • Deb

    Great article!  If careful planning is given to what plants are planted next to each other, weeds can be diminished.  Do this so that little soil is exposed, which is easier with a flower garden, rather than a veg garden, but square foot gardening techniques with veggies work to achieve this.  

  • Lori Alper

    I’m with you-the weeds are the worst part of gardening.  It is impossible to keep up. I’ve tried many different techniques-I like newspaper the best. I’ve used fabric and it worked well. I took forever to lay down. I have even used my lawn mower between the rows-that’s how desperate I was!  Your beds look great.

  • Amy A.

    We use raised beds, line the bottoms with newspapers, and use good soil. We’ve never had weeds!

  • Karen F.

    We also used raised beds for the vegetable gardens – and I actually like weeding when its a relatively small area, its such a mindless, relaxing task at the end of a long day!  Even my 3 year old gets a kick out of it – just have to keep an eye out to make sure he stays focused on the weeds.  I also use the fabric for walkways around our orchard – where there is so much square footage that weeding would just take too long. 

  • Ann

    We have a very large garden so weeding is a chore, even with mulch. We are trying lasagna gardening this year (there are many books and on-line information about this method). We are also planting clovers on walking areas and then this fall, we can use that as the base for next year’s garden rows.

  • Amy

    We use newspaper a few inches under the topsoil.  It works well.

  • Dee

    I’m old fashioned and just tear at weeds manually but would love to learn any new trips that can save time and energy!

  • Cindy @ OnePartSunshine

    I can’t wait to try out this weed control fabric!  In the past, I used raised beds and they worked great at controlling weeds.  But this year, my garden is huge so way too big for raised beds.  I’ve just been pulling them at this point and I tried mulch but it hasn’t been working very well.  Thanks for the idea!

  • cindy hatch

    We had a terrible problem with dandelions.  I bought a special digger from Home Depot to dig them out instead of using chemicals.  It also helps to keep the lawn mowed every 5-7 days to keep the seeds from spreading. 

  • aubrey

    Don’t settle for a cheap landscaping fabric, get an extra thick one.
    littlegray88 at yahoo dot com

  • Robin

    I use thick newspaper covered by compost for new beds. For driveway weeds, I use vinegar on a hot day.

  • Schmidty

    I use newspaper in my beds to prevent weeds.

  • Angela Gray

    We just have a small flower bed, but my 3 year old loves to help with it. So he has become our weed-puller. I point out which ones he can pull up and he loves being involved. It works for all of us!

  • Joanne

    For the first time in many years I have garden space! I’ve been trying to simply keep up on the weeding. It isn’t working super well. I will be watching how the sun moves around the yard & what pops up on its own this year & will be making some raised beds next year!

  • Katie K

    Weeds?  Does it count if I just ignore them? =)

  • Tammy

    We have had great luck with our raised bed garden and get very few weeds and we are able to just pull them out.  Now in the rest of our year, I tend to wait until they get a little large and are much easier to pull out.  We have weed block like crazy around our yard but they tend to peak out in the holes that our plants are growing out of :(

  • Nicole27202

    Oh, I am so eager to try this!! We pick by hand but really want the fabric. Just can’t do the plastic…

  • Nora

    My most successful strategy is to bring in sturdy natives that out compete the weeds. Then I just figure out which weeds are most irksome and I yank them out by hand.

  • Kristy

    I like this natural weed killer. Vinegar Weed Killer Recipe
    • 120 mls (4 ounces) Lemon juice concentrate
    • 1 liter (1 quart) white or cider vinegar

  • Lilnursejen

    My favorite tip for preventing weeds is to keep up on grooming your garden/area.  If we keep up on it the work doesn’t seem too bad, but if we pu it off then we get overwhelmed.

    Jennifer Marie

    lilnursejen at yahoo dot com

  • Gfieldj

    my favorite thing to do with dealing with weeds in my garden is to pickup the bags of leafs that my neighor leave on the side of the road. I use to cover my rows and beds to keep weeds down. thanks james graves

  • Kim W.

    We are using large plastic containers for our garden this year.  Little to no weeding involved.

  • http://twitter.com/whorton Ben Whorton

    A good stirrup hoe (oscillating kind) makes quick work of weeds early on and causes less damage to surrounding “good” plants.  Our biggest weed problems are actually grass, wild senna, and morning glory on freshly tilled ground.  Getting a head start on planting helps to suppress weeds too as new vegetables tend to shade out weeds before they can get a good start.

  • Stephanie

    I bought some organic weed control for my lawn made from corn.  It hasn’t been long enough to see how well it works but I’m crossing my fingers.

  • Michelle O

    We have raised beds, so weeds aren’t too much of a problem, but when we do get them, we just pick ‘em out by hand.

  • Danielle

    Love your raised bed! Am trying to get one built out here in NM, but we are under water restrictions so gardening is a challenge. Love the idea of the fabric on top to keep some of the moisture in. My only weed advice is the obvious, pull when they’re little – don’t wait till those roots get long! Thanks for the chance to win!

  • Danielle

    Love your raised bed! Am trying to get one built out here in NM, but we are under water restrictions so gardening is a challenge. Love the idea of the fabric on top to keep some of the moisture in. My only weed advice is the obvious, pull when they’re little – don’t wait till those roots get long! Thanks for the chance to win!

    • Cindy

      Just an idea.  Whenever I run water in my sink to get it hot I always catch it with a gallon container.  You would be surprised how much water goes down the drain before the hot water gets to you.  I then use to that water to water my plants.

    • Cindy

      Just an idea.  Whenever I run water in my sink to get it hot I always catch it with a gallon container.  You would be surprised how much water goes down the drain before the hot water gets to you.  I then use to that water to water my plants.

  • Linda

    I just pop them out with a hand shovel…

  • Lisa

    I often use cardboard and/or newspaper to prevent weeds. In tests it has been shown to work better than the plastic.

  • Liz

    I just pick them, and the kids help too!

  • Melissawolf4445

    I love your raised beds and after pulling weeds for 3 days straight I would love the gift card so I can enjoy my summer instead of repulling weeds!

  • Melissa

    We use raised beds and weed by hand.  Thank you

  • Melissa

    We use raised beds and weed by hand.  Thank you

  • Cindy

    Old fashioned hand shovel and pulling for the weeds.

  • Pookiecat123

    We have not had any problems with weeds much.  I think it is because we are persistant with every little weed that we see we get it right away.  Maybe our soil is different?
    Judy S
    pookiecat123 at yahoo dot com

  • Jennifer

    I’ve used a mixture of vinegar and hot water with some success, but I think the best method is still removing them by hand. It’s good work for the kids, and if you do it with them, it’s a good time to talk and share. :-)

  • tiemeupandspankme

     We just do it the old school way… laborious yes, but I enjoy the workout and the sunshine.  I do agree though…those triple digits will getcha in the summertime!!

  • Maylin Brito

    How do you treat the wood for the bed itself? i didn’t want to  use any chemicals on mine and the wood is deteriorating fast.

  • Lauren L

    my dog clearly helps dig up most of the bad ones…we just need to train him to stay away from the good!

  • Rishellg

    I bought a great cultivating tool that tears up the ground, weeds and all. Works great between rows and plants!

  • Rishellg

    I bought a great cultivating tool that tears up the ground, weeds and all. Works great between rows and plants!

  • Mo

    I use grass clippings from cutting our yard to lay down around all the plants which seems to prevent/slow weed growth but it also helps the soil to retain moisture longer in the heat of summer.  I will also use old newspapers to lay around my tomato plants (and pepper) to help prevent splash back from rain which, can be thought to cause some diseases. 

  • granolagirl

    I just came across your blog. So excited!!!! Planting an organic garden is my goal this summer. We have done some major health overhaul in trying to conceive naturally and planting my own veggies is at the top of my list. Just have no idea where to get started, but up for the challenge. I actually plan to blog about it soon, well maybe like the end of this month (www.myinnergranola.com). Wish me luck :)

  • Sealpup

    I spray weeds on a hot day with straight vinegar and a couple drops of liquid soap.

  • Hope

    I recycle my newspapers there.  I save them up throughout the year and when spring comes I plant my plants, then I use six sheets thick of newspaper, overlap them, and then cover with whatever I decide to use for mulch.  My vegetable garden usually gets straw and the landscaping gets wood mulch.  The worms love the newspaper, it decomposes easily, and is a good way to recycle paper, plus I’m not spending my entire summer dealing with weeds. 

  • Erin Frazier Boone

    Favorite tip for weeds in the garden? I guess I am old fashioned but I hand pull them to keep things organic! Plus, my black plastic always got torn up (like you said) or blew away when I tried to use it to kill weeds in a patch… better just to start fresh and keep up with it! Garden looks great though! :)

  • Nwashburn

    I normally hand pull them.  Our garden is tiny….

    On occasion, I’ve also required the kids to pull weeds as a punishment.

  • Lizabeth

    i find that good old fashioned pulling is the best remedy for weeds. i even find it very meditative! thanks for the great giveaway…*fingers crossed*

  • Beth

    My favorite weed tip is elbow grease + a few drops of vinegar into places where I’ve dug out larger weeds.

  • R Broom

    I have found it is best to remove as many weeds as possible right in the beginning. Then use high quality compost that includes rotten hay and fall leaves. I also get motivated to weed if I know I can thin out some of the crops at the same time.

  • Brit

    I have tried everything and still end up losing the battle of the weeds. Maybe weed control fabric is the answer! Great post.

  • Lisa Sinnes

    Well, I haven’t found any fail-proof solutions, but a few things that we do here help are:
    -layers of newspaper as a weed guard
    -trying to pull ‘em before they go to seed (oh, boy, never ending, this one!)
    -straight vinegar on the suckers that come up through cracks in in the cement walkway and gravel.
    I am loving reading all the comments of what others do, too!

  • Linda

    We use landscape fabric and vinegar as well.

  • Linda

    this is my second year gardening so I really don’t have any great tricks yet! learning from all of you!

  • Julie Hunter

    Also a looser of the weed battle. But I love hearing these tips!

  • Harding2003

    I have three raised beds that I hand water with a watering can or bucket, only around the plants so that I’m not watering weeds or wasting water. I have been using the pool water from my kids kiddie pools in the afternon when they are done swimming, helpls me feel like I’m not waisting water.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mistydmurphy Misty Murphy

    One way we have found that works everytime with the weeds, especially when it’s hot is to mix 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of lemon juice, 5 tablespoons of 7th Generation liquid dish soap with about a cup of HOT water and shake it up into a sprayer bottle. When the sun is HOT spray the mixture in a straight shot stream onto the weeds and they will be dead and gone by morning. They stay gone for quite a while. Safe enough for the kids to use and for the animals and chickens to be near.

  • lookingforideas

    I have tried vinegar and water.  Also, tried yard clippings and straw.  I haven’t found a favorite method yet, but might have to try some of the ideas listed here. 

  • Liz

    I do container gardening, and keep the containers weed-free by hand pulling weeds as i see them.  :)

  • Javasnickers

    I don’t have any secrets! I just make sure to pull a few everytime I am out there and every couple of weeks make sure to get most of them.  By staying on top of it, it isn’t to bad.  I mulchthe beds with leaves in the winter so I can uncover dirt not weeds for planting in the spring.

  • Sdsitler

    We tried the vinegar and dish soap, but didn’t have much luck…hand pulling seems to be the best…

    Sara S-V

  • http://www.simplyhealthyfam.blogspot.com Gwen

    I live in Phx.! I remember that black plastic from when I was a kid. I hope people don’t still use it. It’s so hard to grow veggies here, I have to use pots so weeds aren’t a problem. As far as in the yard, the best weed control we have is our 3 boys. ;) would really love a Lowes gift card!

  • rubygirl

    Inside our raised beds, I laid newspaper on the grass then covered w/very old grass clipping that are composting. Then filled w/garden soil. Seems to work!
     

  • Shelley Schneider

    For a raised bed, I’d try putting down wet newspaper beneath it, then putting in your soil and veggie seedlings. It’s cheaper, and a way to reuse your newspaper. But the fabric sounds great, especially if you’re landscaping a new home from scratch (my summer plans). Good luck with your garden.

  • Sarah C

    I like to mulch with grass clippings between all of my plants – the shade keeps weed seeds from germinating, it also helps the plants and soil retain moisture and the green grass clipping leach nitrogen into the soil as a natural fertilizer when it rains or the garden is watered.  I turn it into the soil the next spring to add OM (organic matter) to the soil.  Yay all the way around.

  • http://www.naturemoms.com/blog Tiffany

    Congrats to our random winner… Brit. Thanks everyone for participating!

  • Sergio’s Landscaping

    The weed control fabric that does magic! Weeds can definitely be a source of stress especially for passionate gardeners or house owners with lawns. Good thing there are a variety of ways to handle them right now, and the best thing is, there are organic or eco-friendly ways that can be used.

  • PeterGreen12

    Weed control fabric is a really good thing to use, however if you find that you already have weeds before you put this stuff down then the best thing to do is to use weed killer for grass to get rid of them.