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Is weed hunting absolutely necessary? It is said that these crazy and invasive grasses may have a role to play in the garden. Pure truth or new fashionable fad? Before we mistakenly removed weeds this winter, we met Charly from Jardiland, always happy to give us good advice.
Should we weed every nook and cranny in the garden in winter?
A sanitized natural space is not the one that is best protected, quite the contrary and it is so in all seasons. What is commonly known as weeds are endemic, i.e. local, wild grasses that play a significant role in balancing ecosystems. Their ability to fit everywhere makes undesirable in our eyes. And yet, from bindweed to speedwell, dioecious nettle to red chickweed, poppy to crack vetch, we have a lot to gain from these wild grasses. Plantain is also an excellent example: it is a weed - what many call weed - very useful since it is a medicinal plant!
Are you saying that in winter you shouldn't destroy all the weeds?
Not only in winter! Rather than weeding, let's talk about wild herb control. It is an eco-attitude that it is urgent to adopt. Many garden enthusiasts know that by promoting the growth of alfalfa in winter in the vegetable patch, they really limit the development of weeds. Besides, alfalfa is a green manure. Let us not deprive ourselves of it: it allows the nitrogen contained in the air to be fixed in the earth.
Intelligently controlling wild herbs is therefore the solution. But what is the major advantage of weeds exactly?
In winter, weeds protect many species of small animals and auxiliary insects, i.e. useful. I advise to keep an area of the garden a little wild where weeds will develop which nature needs. Of course, keeping weeds for their usefulness does not mean that you have to be overgrown to the point where you can no longer grow a single vegetable! Weeding in winter is used to dominate weeds without eradicating them.
Why choose winter to remove excess weeds?
We can weed in all seasons, the ideal being to choose the period preceding the flowering of the weeds that we wish to eliminate. But winter is a season that lends itself to weeding because borders and beds are often reduced to a simple stretch of land, and it is the same in many vegetable gardens.
What are the most effective solutions for environmentally friendly weed control?
We forget about pesticides, which are extremely polluting. The ideal is to hoe. On the one hand, hoeing aerates the soil, and when done regularly it even manages to make it lighter, easier to work. Hoeing is an ecological gesture since it limits the number of waterings. It is therefore to be practiced in winter but also throughout the year. Hoeing eliminates a good part of the seeds of wild herbs. After careful hoeing - even digging when necessary and possible - the ideal is to put a mulch on well-weeded soil. This will prevent the weeds from growing even if their seeds still in the ground have germinated.