Right this may be a really silly question but is there anything you can do to cut down on the amount of weeding you need to do or at this time of year is it a weekly job?
Our garden has largish beds both sides of the garden abd a little channel next to the path. I spent ages clearing one bed and even sifted the soil. Three weeks later it looks as bad as ever with cress like weeds. I planted sone bedding plants which are now surrounded. I do try and get out there a couple of times a week when the weather is good and do some gardening but may not get a chance to do anything for a couple of weeks sometimes.
We have put down that black matting stuff in the front garden which helps but we are taking out a pond and re-doing the back garden nx summer so don't want to spend ages putting that down if we are changing everything.
Is there anything natural you can put down to slow the weeds growth or is it just a case of doing it weekly?
I don't think you can stop weeds completely but you can reduce them by using mulch, put it on in spring and again at the beginning of winter. We use a mixture of farmyard manure, in bags from garden centre, and very fine bark over all the beds and only get the odd tiny weed seedling now which is easy to pull up or hoe away.
Mulch, mulch and more mulch! I love bark chips, we have them between all our plants and have very few weeds. If there is no light getting to the soil, many seeds won't even germinate. Those that do germinate won't last long as they run out of energy before they grow up past the mulch. Only the very determined ones manage to get through a thick layer!
Thanks - I don't think we have a hoe so will look into that as may also save my back.
I presume with the mulch you put around any plants you have so they can grow.
Do you know what! I have just realised that my husband put a load of compost down around our new plants and to make the other beds look good. I bet that encourages weeds to grow as well. Can you tell I'm new to gardening!
Someone I know who's a professional gardener swears by regular hoeing, at least weekly, and whenever you can manage more often. I have found it works.
I have a little Burgon and Ball Japanese hand scythe, which is good for doing areas with precious plants in more precisely - same technique as hoeing, but you have to kneel to use it, so I don't know if that's feasible for you if you have back problems.
Hoe, hoe, hoe. Also, every year you keep the weeds under control, the easier it will get ('one years seeding, seven years weeding')
There's a good youtube video demonstrating effective hoe-ing here - the collinear hoe is great because it is very lightweight, and designed to be used in a 'thumbs up' position, which is much better on the back. Look at the pictures here to see lots of demonstrations of the correct position - its very easy if you've not used a hoe before to hold it 'thumbs down' which means you end up leaning over & really strains the back.
Its also very important to sharpen your hoe regularly, it should be cutting through the weeds, not hacking them out.
The little burgon & ball hoe that bearleigh recommends is also very good for small scale sorting.