A healthy garden requires the right amount of nutrient content in the soil to help plants flourish. As plants grow they use up nutrients that require replenishment. A fertilizer will add nutrients to the soil and encourage growth. Weeds decrease the effectiveness of fertilizer by competing for the nutrient resources added to the garden. A thriving garden requires proper weeding and effective fertilization.
Remove weeds that pop up by pulling on them with gloved hands. Dig at the base of the plant to remove the roots and decrease the chance of the weed returning.
Perform a soil test to determine the nutrient content and soil pH. Soil tests are available from garden centers or through your local university extension for a fee.
Fertilize the garden using the soil test results. Application of fertilizer is performed by weight of the nutrient per 1,000 square feet. Determine the nutrient weight of the fertilizer by looking at the label for the three numbers that indicate the nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) content percentage–in that order. Multiply the weight of the bag by the percentage of the nutrient you want to apply. A 10 pound bag with 30 percent nitrogen would have 3 lbs. nitrogen by weight (10 X .30 = 3 pounds of nitrogen).
Apply the fertilizer using a drop spreader. Add the weight of the fertilizer required into the drop spreader and run it in two directions over the gardening area for best coverage. Overlap the fertilizer runs slightly.
Apply a pre-emergent herbicide before germination of common weeds in your garden to prevent seeds from sprouting. Apply according to the herbicide packaging instructions.
Kill established weeds using a post-emergent herbicide. Spray directly onto the weed on a day with no wind or rain to prevent the herbicide from spreading to desirable plants.