Whether you're an avid gardener or just like to dabble, April is the toughest month. Along with the first delightful shoots of spring comes the dreaded weed. Weeds take over valuable resources such as soil and sun. Dealing with weeds like ragweed and dandelions early can help your garden grow to its full potential.
Use mulch. Lay down organic mulch (such as wood chips) between rows of vegetables or flowers in your garden. Mulch prevents unwanted plants such as weeds from growing by blocking the sunlight from the soil. Try a 3- to 4-inch-thick layer to prevent most weeds.
Plant excess vegetables and flowers. When you plant your garden, plant more vegetables or flowers than you need. Although you may have to thin out your garden later, more plants will grow, which means less room for weeds.
Remove sprouting weeds immediately. When weeds begin to sprout, pull them by hand early and often. Pulling annual weeds before they flower will prevent the spread of the weeds to the rest of the garden. Hand tools such as a trowel, a small hand-held shovel, can help. Weeding when the garden soil is wet will make it easier to pull tough roots out of the soil.
Avoid composting weeds. Instead of composting perennial weeds (e.g. dandelion and ragweed), throw the roots in the trash instead. Otherwise, they will come back the next year in the compost! Annual weeds that have not flowered can be composted.
Use vodka. If you do have a weed problem, avoid chemical weed-killers. Some vegetables may also absorb the chemicals. Instead, use vodka. Combine one ounce of vodka with two cups of water and a squirt of dish soap. Using a spray bottle, spray the mixture liberally on weeds.