Privacy   |    Financial   |    Current Events   |    Self Defense   |    Miscellaneous   |    Letters To Editor   |    About Off The Grid News   |    Off The Grid Videos   |    Weekly Radio Show

How To Kill Every Weed In Your Garden Without Chemicals

Image source: Gardenknowhow.com

Image source: Gardenknowhow.com

Even though the gardening season is coming to an end for most of us, it doesn’t mean that home gardeners aren’t already thinking of next season – and planning ahead.

One of the best ways for the home gardener to eliminate pesky weeds and soil borne pathogens is through a process called soil solarization. It should be noted, though, that the most effective soil solarization takes place in mid-summer when temperatures are at their hottest. Nevertheless, for those in the warmer parts of the U.S., soil solarization may still do some good even into the fall.

What is soil solarization?

Simply put, soil solarization is a way to use the sun’s energy to dramatically heat up the soil. This is done by placing a clear layer of plastic over top of your garden soil. Temperatures under this plastic tarp or sheet can reach as high as 140 degrees F – effectively baking weed seeds, insects, and soil borne pathogens. If you were unfortunate enough to have your garden ravaged by late blight this year, soil solarization will provide some good protection from getting it again next year.

While most sources recommend that soil solarization should be done for four to six weeks, some home gardeners have reported noticeable benefits with only two weeks. Ultimately, a lot depends on how long you are willing to have sections of your garden out of commission.

Steps to Solarization

There are four main steps to soil solarization: cultivating the soil, leveling the soil surface, irrigating the soil, laying the plastic tarp on top of the soil.

Step 1 – Cultivate the soil

The first step is to cultivate or prepare your soil. It is essential that you remove all plant debris as well as rocks and so forth. The purpose of this is not simply to tidy your garden (though it certainly accomplishes that as well), but to actually create conditions in which there is only small, finely textured soil. Doing this will allow the moist air to go deep into the soil where most pathogens will be located.

Step 2 – Level the Soil Surface

Once your soil is free of debris, it is important that the earth you are solarising is as flat as possible. This will help your plastic tarp or cover to stay in place.

Without A Doubt The Best Kept Secret In Indoor Self-Reliance Gardening…

Use a rotary hoe or rototiller to break down large clumps of dirt. Any air pockets caused by debris will only serve to slow the solarization process and prevent your plastic cover from fitting tightly over the soil.

Step 3 – Irrigate the Soil

While it may seem counterintuitive to “water” weed, irrigating your soil is critical to the success of solarization. The reason: When combined with the heat from the sun beating down on the plastic, moisture will make weeds and soil pathogens more vulnerable.

Moisture encourages weed seeds to germinate and soil borne pathogens to become active (as opposed to laying dormant and relatively indestructible until the spring gardening season!). When growth is encouraged, however, these garden pests become vulnerable and can be destroyed by the heat.

To irrigate the soil, it is recommended that you use a drip irrigation line under the tarp.

Step 4 – Plastic Tarp

Once the soil has been cleared of debris, levelled and well-irrigated, you can place the plastic tarp on top of the soil. A clear UV-stabilized plastic should be used, and the thickness should be between 0.5 and 3 mm thick as it must be flexible in order to stretch across the surface and strong enough that it doesn’t tear when birds or other animals come to investigate.

Bury the edges of the sheet 5-6 inches into the soil so that the tarp is not carried away on the first gusty day. You can also weigh the edges down with bricks or other heavy materials. You must make sure however, that the edges are sealed airtight — otherwise your efforts at solarization may be wasted.

Disadvantages of Soil Solarization

While solarization can be a big help for some home gardeners, it is definitely not for everyone. It is most successful in the middle of the summer, which is also peak growing season. This means that unless you have a very large garden, you may not wish to put a big chunk of your garden out of commission for several weeks.

While it can be done in the fall, it is not likely to work without a nice stretch of sunny warm days. In cooler, cloudier areas it may be ineffective.

Benefits of Soil Solarization

Soil solarization is an effective way to manage weeds and other pests. In fact, if you have suffered a particularly bad year for plant diseases, it may be one of the best things that you can do.

An additional benefit is that it may also increase the nutrient availability in your soil. By adding moisture and heat, you will also be breaking down nutrients in the soil, which creates a nutrient-rich liquid – which will be more advantageous to the plants you put in your garden next.

Do you have any soil solarization tips? Leave them in the section below:

Get $600 Worth Of Survival Blueprints … Absolutely Free!

© Copyright Off The Grid News

7 comments

  1. How come there’s no “Save the Weeds Foundation?”

    Not being a commercial producer needing to squeeze every last corn kernel out of my land for profit’s sake, I use weeds to help prevent erosion, to keep the soil around my crop plants cool, reduce evaporation from the soil, use their deep root systems to raise minerals up to the surface from deeper soil layers. and serve as “living mulch.”

    With copious water from the hose available, there’s no competition from the weeds for that and periodically I just weed-wack or hand pull to keep their heights down to eliminate competiton for light.

    The weeds then serve as a no-labor cover crop after harvest and are rototilled into the soil in spring.

    The method in the article to sterilize the soil with the sun’s heat is effective, but it may also kill the beneficial soil bacteria too, so beware. You need those bacteria to mobilize soil nutrients into a form that the plants can absorb and use.

  2. I’ve never heard of this technique, but I need all the help I can get. The weeds keep winning.

  3. Here in the north it’s pretty hard to do this process, but we have found something that definitely helps with weed control. We plant buckwheat in every fallow area, which includes all the rows between crops. Buckwheat is an extremely fast-growing cover crop that chokes out absolutely everything else, with the added advantage that it nourishes the soil while growing, provides nutrient dense additives when tilled into the soil & it is an excellent forage crop for honeybees & other pollinators. And even up in the north we can get at least two, & sometimes three, plantings during the growing season.

  4. Great alternatives to using harmful chemicals. There are too many options that are available now and much is known about how to properly get rid of weeds and fertilize your lawn without harming the environment.

  5. You know what works really good at killing weeds … white vinegar … I get a big jug of the no name stuff and spray it around … works great … stinks a bit though

  6. Pouring boiling water over weeds is also highly effective and leaves no harmful residual chemicals in soil.

  7. Soil solarization is one of the environment friendly method for controlling the weeds and also pests.This method uses physical changes in the soil. And also very much helpful in killing weed. Surely have to try this method as just heard about it. Thanks for the article.!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*