We're a fairly eco conscious bunch us Kiwis, so we've gathered a little list on how to avoid the use of excess Roundup.
Weeds are the bane of our existence, so the more we can do to avoid them growing in the first place, the easier it is to avoid the chemicals!
- Mulching. One of the most effective ways to avoid the growth of weeds, is to mulch your gardens quite heavily. Here at the Bulb farm we use truckloads of untreated Pine sawdust, and apply it to be around 10cm deep. If you're using Pine Sawdust, you'll need to remember that the Sawdust will leach some of the Nitrogen, so a little extra of our Bulb Food wouldn't go amiss here. Other types of Mulch that you are more likely to be able to get your hands on are bark, newspaper, cardboard, grass clippings, and most other organic matter... keep away from Hay, as you'll find it full of seeds, just waiting to grow!
- Weeding. Okay, this is an obvious one I know, but it's important to try to keep on top of them from the very start... pulling them out before they become too big, will reduce the amount of seed being distributed around the garden. Once the weeds go to seed, you're in trouble!
- Competition. The denser you plant your garden, the harder it is for weeds to compete. The more plants the merrier I say!
- Target Irrigation. Try not to irrigate the whole garden! sprinklers are great, but the weed's love them too... try remember where those Bulbs are, and water them... don't water the whole property.
- Solarizing. What on earth is this I hear you say... Solarizing is a great way of killing off weeds if you have masses of them. Simply placing a plastic sheeting over the top of the weeds, and letting them cook to death in the scorching sun below. You'll need to leave the sheet on top for around 5 weeks, and the hotter the weather the better the results.
- Less digging. If you can avoid turning the soil over too often, you'll avoid bringing the weed seeds back to life. Try and target exactly where you want your Bulbs planted, and keep the digging to that spot only... our nifty wee Bulb Planters are handy for this.
- Salt and Vinegar. .. and a little dishwashing liquid. Very Kiwi sounding huh! - Regular household Vinegar, mixed with Salt and dishwashing liquid, and sprayed on the weeds in the heat of the day will burn those little bliters! Simply mix around 3.5-4litres of Vinegar, 1 cup of table salt, and a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid in a sprayer. Make sure you only target the weeds, as it will burn plants too.
- Vodka. If all else fails, there's always a bottle of Vodka to come to the rescue! ... For the weeds ;-) Try spraying a mixture of around 30mls of vodka, 2 cups of water and a couple drops of dishwashing liquid onto the weeds. Make sure you do this in the heat of the day, when the sun is at it's hottest. This won't work in shady areas.