How to Spend Less Time and Money on Weeding

If you have ever tried farming on a plot of land (120x60ft) or more, you’ll agree with me that weeding with hoes is no easy task. It is back- and waist-breaking! If you decide to employ laborers to help you out, they’ll charge you about N7000 per plot (depending on your location). This shows how important it is for you to find ways of cutting weeding cost. And that’s exactly what you’re about to learn.

So how do we go about this? The method we’re going to look at is called the stale seedbed method. Here is how it works. Make your seedbed, ridges or hills (I like working with ridges because it makes operations like fertilizer application or spraying insecticides and fungicides easier). After making your ridges, don’t sow your seeds or transplant yet. Allow about 2 weeks to pass to allow the first flush of weeds to grow. This means that you have to prepare your ridges 2 weeks or more ahead of your planting date. If it has not rained, water the ridges to encourage weed growth.

When a lot of weeds have germinated, use an herbicide called glyphosphate to kill the weeds. This herbicide can kill weeds down to the roots – total kill. It has no residual effect on the soil and your plants will be safe. Don’t worry, you can buy it in Nigeria and in many other countries worldwide. Just pay a visit to agro-chemical sellers in your area.

After killing the weeds (it takes about 12-15 days) you can now sow your seed or transplant your seedlings. Or if there’s still time, you can till the soil (to expose weed seeds) and allow a second flush of weeds to grow.

Precaution: When sowing or transplanting, minimize soil disturbance. Just disturb enough soil to plant your seeds or transplants. This is very important because the more soil you disturb, the more weed seeds you expose to the surface where they’ll grow. Just know that your soil is likely teeming with millions of weed seeds. The less weed seeds you expose the better. With this strategy you’ll greatly minimize the number of weeding you have to do per season.

But note, when you allow the weeds to grow, you must kill them before they start producing seeds, else this method won’t be effective. Also note that weed seeds that are buried deep in the soil will not germinate. They’ll germinate only when brought to the top layer (about 2.5 inches) of the soil.

Precaution 2: Beware of the source of your manure. Manure from animals that eat grass – goats, cattle, sheep, horse etc. – contains weed seeds. Using these manure in your farm without composting them or passing them through a biogas digester will introduce more weed seeds into your farm.

Another strategy that will help you reduce weeds is mulching. Mulching will help you reduce weeding time by 100% in most cases.

I hope this help. What strategy do you use to control weed in your farm? Please share with us. Thanks.

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