Killing weeds in a new planting bed can be done without chemicals.
If you have been hesitating about creating or expanding your garden because you just know that you will be dealing with fresh new weeds, then try these steps. You will need approximately two weeks for this process, but you will be impressed with the results.
When killing weeds, you probably are there on your hands and needs digging them up by the roots right? But what you probably don't realize is that weed seeds are in the soil, especially from a new planting bed.
Stake out the size of the garden, and dig the edges, and then take up the grass, weeds and any debris in the planting bed. Note: This process works best with gardens that get at least six hours of sun per day. For killing weeds, you are basically cooking them out!
Loosen the soil with a garden fork, but resist turning it over. I know this seems like the natural step to do, but don't do that, or you will take the seeds from the surface and plant them below where the unwanted weeds will flourish again! Loosen at least one foot of soil with the fork, without turning it over.
Water the new planting area, quite heavily, making sure the soil is good and wet. Then leave this overnight. You are getting closer to killing weeds and their offspring!
Take a sheet of plastic, make sure it is the clear type, not the green type, or you won't be killing weeds. You can get sheets of clear plastic from the local hardware store. You may need help with this step, especially if there is any wind!
Pull it tight over the planting area, and cover the edges with a shovel full of soil to hold the edges down. Make sure there are no holes in the plastic. Killing weeds, takes heat from the sun and the plastic becomes a hot house, and if there are any holes, you will not achieve the temperature needed for killing weeds and their seeds.
Leave this on as long as you can. A minimum of two weeks, but four would be even better, it depends on how hot the weather has been.
The heat from the sun and the plastic holding in the heat, is killing weeds and their seeds. The heat from the plastic can kill seeds up to 4 inches below the soil. This is why it was important not to turn the soil in the beginning, only loosen it. Or you risk having seeds deeper in the soil.
Once you remove the sheet, you can plant new plants. Then mulch any open spaces up to five inches deep. Killing weeds this way is great in the spring when you are wanting to start a new flower bed.
One of the worst ways to deal with a new bed is by rototilling it when you have not removed all the grass and weeds. You need to do this in layers. You can rent a sod remover if the garden is a large area, and once you get the hang of this machine, is does a good job. It takes up weeds and grass.
My hubby thought he was helping once, and tilled a section of garden, and thought it would be easier to pick out the weeds and grass afterwards. It was not! Just when you thought you had picked out all the grass and were through with picking and killing weeds, more would pop up.
So, if you have a new flower bed, or you wish to expand an existing one, and it gets a fair bit of sunlight, then try this method of killing weeds and their next generation of seeds. You will get a head start on your garden.