Gardening expert and author Ellen Mary has shared her methods for preventing weed growth exclusively with Express.co.uk. Ellen, who presents The Plant Based Podcast, said that while we should learn to live with weeds, there are certain situations where people might need to clean them up to plant something. For example, when gardeners cultivate their gardens for crops, weed growth can strip nutrients from crops as they compete for light, water, and nutrients.
Rather than using harsh chemicals or sprays that can impact the environment, Ellen suggested weeding by hand.
She explained: “For me, it’s about weeding by hand, which is what I mainly do.
“I don’t use anything at all in my garden or my housing estate. I don’t use any spray, I weed by hand.
Another technique Ellen uses is something called “no digging” which she says “really helps keep the weeds down.”
The technique involves layering a mulch over the surface of the garden once a year.
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“I think we just need to rethink our weed clarification along those lines.”
Nettles, for example, are popular with ladybugs and ladybugs feed on aphids.
Nettles can also be used to make tea and to make plant food.
“Everything has a use,” Ellen added.
Dandelions are also known as a “classic weed”, but they are actually one of the first sources of nectar for bees.
Leaving dandelions will ensure pollinators reach them.
Dandelions can also be used to make tea and coffee.
Ellen said gardens don’t have to be perfect either.
It is more beneficial to have wilder areas in the garden.
She urged gardeners not to “sweat the weeds” so much.
Ellen’s first book The Joy of Gardening: The Everyday Zen of Mowing the Lawn was published in May 2021.
Her second book, How to Grow a Garden: From Balconys to Back Garden Plots, the Complete Guide to a Thriving Outdoor Space, is due out later this year.