Unfortunately, there’s no way to keep weeds from spreading without using a pre or post-emergent pesticide. Weeds must be pulled on a regular basis if a gardener refuses to use pesticides. There are preventative measures that can be taken to keep weeds from germinating. You can put down a porous plastic sheet under the top soil layer which prevents most weeds from taking root. Weeds are an on going battle for any gardener, even ones who use pesticides.
This question raises two important points about weeds: 1. Weeding is an inevitable an unending part of gardening. Weed seeds can make their way into your garden in a bagillion different ways, and you simply don’t have control over all of them. 2. In answer to your question, weeds, like any plant, only go to seed at the end of their annual life cycle. So, pulling weeds when they are young (before they flower) is the best way to prevent any of their seeds from getting into your garden.
You don’t have to pull weeds. Starting mulching. You can use straw, cardboard, or leaves. If you used leaves or straw make sure it’s well layers. Japanese microbiologist turned natural farmer Masanobu Fukuoka developed what he called “do-nothing” farming: he used straw mulch and clover as a ground cover, never pulled a single weed, and decades later his farmland was more fertile than it had been before he started and in way healthier shape than his neighbors who were using pesticides. Emilia Hazelip, who grew bio-intensive gardens in France also used mulch and never weeded. You can check out a 3-part video series of how her garden functioned on youtube. I’ll put the link below.
One solution is to burn them with a portable propane torch. This kills all the seed and often the weed as well. Such torches may be found at tool stores like harbor freight.
Propane Torch: Photo Credit, southern living.com
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