If you garden you have weeds and know the aggravation of trying to eliminate them. A weed, of course, is a plant in the wrong place so yesterday’s treasure might be tomorrow’s weed. Weeds vary considerably but for every weed there is a non-chemical method of controlling it. Bob Flowerdew’s book, Weeding Without Chemicals, presents suggestions for weed control that reduce effort, ecological intrusion, and cost to a minimum.
Flowerdew begins by giving the reader the basic information on weeds as a foundation for finding the best method of controlling each kind of weed. He discusses the way weeds spread, how weeds hurt other plants, and a novel approach for weed identification, stressing that naming the weed is not important as long as you can identify a seedling as a weed when it first emerges from the ground.
Flowerdew’s common sense approach to weed identification leads directly to his equally practical methods of weed control. He points out that repetition and timing are all important and that weeding when plants are young is usually easier than when they are older. He gives hints for hand weeding, hoeing, and uprooting weeds in general. He gives a variety of weed control methods for ridding a large area of weeds that involve depriving weeds of light and cooking them with plastic. He gives suggestions for spacing plants, mulching, and using household substances such as vinegar to control weeds and then turns to weed control in specific areas such as vegetable gardens, woodland settings, driveways, lawns, and shrub beds. A brief section on using weeds after they have been removed from the garden are followed by four very informative appendices that consider weed groups, weeds as indicators, the mineral value of weeds, and the importance of weeds to insects.
The simple, common sense approach to weed control is appealing. You don’t have to be a super-gardener or own all kinds of fancy equipment to follow Flowerdew’s advice. The battle against weeds can be won with a slow steady effort that is eco-friendly and low in cost.