Weeding & Thinning


Creating a beautiful, highly productive garden takes a lot of work and stewardship. One of the biggest components of tending any garden is weeding. Most people cringe when they think of weeding, but in the right conditions, weeding can be a favorite activity in the garden. Weeding is one of the only gardening activities that is instantly gratifying. It might seem difficult to keep a weed-free garden over the summer, but these few tips can help.

Make a consistent schedule. Instead of saying you will work in the garden when it’s needed, create a set schedule and stick to it. Having a workday every Monday and Wednesday from 8-11 will create a time to plant, water, harvest, mulch, and weed. Having that set time means that if you are done at 10:15 with planting, you have 45 minutes dedicated to weeding.

Ask for help. Weeding is easy for community members to help with, no tools or significant amount of guidance is necessary. Setting up something like “Weeding Wednesdays” where the garden is welcoming all volunteers to help weed every Wednesday will bring in a since of connection as well as lots of weed-pulling hands.



Thick layers of woodchip mulch in paths and straw mulch around plants will offer a lot of relief with weeding. If there are any open beds waiting for fall crops or already harvested from, it is really helpful to cover the bed in a very thick layer of straw mulch to keep weeds under control and prevent soil erosion.



If you have sown seeds directly into the soil, they will likley grow more plants than you need. If left un-tended, seedlings may begin to crowd and compete for water, light, and nutrients. Direct seeded crops such as greens, carrots, radishes, and beets need to be thinned 1-2 weeks after germination. Allow plants to grow to about 1-2" tall and select the most vigorous plants to keep. According to directions on your seed packet or planting guide, pull all plants around the ones you have selected to allow them ample space to grow and thrive. 


Additional Information on Weeding and Thinning can be downloaded below. These excerpts from the Kansas Gardening Guide are provided, with permission, from K-State Research & Extension.   Charles W. Marr, Ted Carey, Raymond Cloyd, and Megan Kennelly, Kansas Garden Guide, Kansas State University, March 2010.

As the Garden Grows.pdf147.27 KB