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Jay North
Mr. North has been featured in People Magazine, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, The New Yorker, and thousands of other publications. Moreover Jay has appeared on The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, World News, Sunday Magazine, and hundreds of other TV and radio talk shows voicing informed opinions on edible flowers and organic farming.
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Controlling Weeds Naturally
By Jay North

Gardening is wonderful exercise, even if you are in poor health. Weeding your garden naturally can offer a little light exercise, fresh air and a way to relax and enjoy nature.
Keeping your garden weed-free begins well before planting time. Begin six to eight weeks before you intend to plant by tilling the soil, using hand tools or a machine. If you are planting vegetables, till to a depth of 12-18 inches. If you are planting flowers or other plants, refer to package instructions regarding depth.

The first tilling is an excellent time to take soil samples to send to your local Home Extension office for testing. Till every one to two weeks, for a total of about four times. By

your last tilling, your soil analysis should be in, and you can add any organic matter, nutrients or other additives as you till for the final time.

This procedure should rid the area intended for your garden of most existing grass and weeds and prevent them from re-germinating. Having eliminated the existing grass and weeds, you will be well on your way to a weed-free garden for the growing season.

After tilling, good mulch is recommended. Pine and straw is a good choice for several reasons: it is heavy enough not to blow or wash away easily, as it rots it naturally composts the soil and it is easily moved when you want to plant. A good three- to four-inch layer of pine and straw or other mulch will allow the plants to get all the water they need, help the soil retain moisture during dry spells and keep weeds at bay.

After mulching, you're ready to plant! If you have properly tilled and mulched, hand-pulling an occasional weed should be an easy task. Be sure to pull the weed up roots and all. Leaving just a little of the weed will allow it to grow back quickly. Growers who are choosing to go big time, will need the help of at least one laborer per acre to help keep weeds at bay and handle other cultivating and harvesting tasks.

The key to success in weed control, as in any gardening challenge, is regularly walking through and checking your garden for stray weeds, yellow leaves or harmful pests that need to be removed promptly. Staying ahead of the game will prevent many bigger problems down the road.

Weeding and caring for your garden doesn't have to be hard work. Enjoy being outdoors, strolling around your plants, talking to them, and watching them grow. Pulling up an occasional weed or removing a yellowed leaf won't be such a chore. It will be an act of caring for your plants.

So, you want to increase the size of you garden next year? You can get ahead of the weed problem by covering the area with heavy black plastic this year, thereby killing most of the hard work next year. Another favorite trick of mine, after digging up the old dead grass or weeds, is to remove about six inches of the topsoil, just move it aside. Lay cardboard over the area and replace the top soil you laid aside. This will help prevent weed re-growth for several months.

Jay North is a recognized expert and pioneer in the organic gardening/farming industries. Please visit Jay's book page at

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