False sowing

How to eradicate weed growth

Inspirations / Evergreen tips


Estimated reading time 3 minutes

One of the commonest problems that gardeners face when creating a vegetable plot is the presence of weeds. These are plants that grow spontaneously and damage surrounding plants by depriving them of nutrients, water, air and light. In addition to being unsightly and limiting the growth of seedlings, weeds can even cause crops to die, thereby frustrating our efforts to grow them. False sowing is a useful way to limit and even virtually eradicate weed growth. The technique involves delaying the planting of crops for around two weeks and then uprooting weeds that germinate in the intervening period, thereby giving crops a head start over the weeds. Let's see in detail how false sowing works.

How false sowing works

First of all, you need to cultivate the soil as if preparing it for seeding or transplanting. So, first plough or dig up the soil to turn it over. Secondly, till the soil to break up any clods, and finally level it in preparation for receiving the seeds. Seeding is normally performed immediately after these three stages and seedlings then appear; however, since weed seeds are already present in the soil—even if it has been properly cultivated—they will also germinate alongside the newly sown crops. This means that your seedlings will be the same age as the weeds and must compete with them for nutrients and growing space. 


Therefore, instead of sowing immediately after soil cultivation, wait two weeks so that the weeds germinate first, then eliminate them by tilling and levelling the soil again, before finally sowing. This gives your seedlings a two-week head start to grow unimpeded before new weeds germinate, thereby letting them occupy valuable space and grow stronger before any new weeds can take hold.


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