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How to Weed & Feed Gardens

By Laura Wallace Henderson ; Updated September 21, 2017
Kill weeds while increasing the level of nutrients in your garden soil.
weeds image by Jeffrey Sinnock from Fotolia.com

To grow healthy garden plants and nutritious vegetables, your garden soil needs adequate amounts of necessary nutrients. Weed control is a continual problem for gardeners in various climates. You can manage both these issues at once if you use a weed and feed mixture in your garden. Many gardening centers offer chemical products to remove weeds while feeding desirable plants, but you can make your own weed and feed mix for a non-toxic alternative. Treat your garden with a preparation of corn gluten meal to eliminate weeds and encourage vegetable production.

Clear the soil in your garden plot early in the spring before weeds begin to emerge from the soil. Remove all traces of prior vegetation and take care to pull weeds out by the roots. Rake up roots and vegetation debris.

Spread granulated or powdered corn gluten meal over your cleared soil at a rate of approximately 20 lbs. for every 1,000 square feet of surface soil. Use a seed broadcaster for even coverage on large areas, or sprinkle by hand on smaller garden plots.

Apply approximately 1/4 inch of water within five days after the corn gluten meal treatment, unless the garden plot receives rainfall within this period. Allow the soil to rest until the final frost of the season.

Transplant your small garden plants into the treated soil after the last frost. Avoid planting seeds in treated soil for 6 to 8 weeks after treatment with corn gluten meal to avoid plant loss. Mature plants and small transplants quickly establish in treated soil, suffering no damage from the corn gluten treatment.

Apply a second round of corn gluten meal near the middle of the summer. Apply about 10 lbs. every 1,000 square feet to the soil between established garden plants. This application will kill new weed seeds and supply your garden plants with a healthy dose of nitrogen.


Things You Will Need

  • Rake
  • Corn gluten meal
  • Seed broadcaster
  • Water
  • Garden plants


  • Purchase corn gluten meal from a local grain elevator or farm supply store.
  • If your soil is hard and dry, apply a little water to your garden plot the evening before each planned weeding session. Moist soil allows easier removal of the deep roots grown by many types of weeds.
  • Dig out or pull new weeds growing in the soil between applications of corn gluten meal. Corn gluten meal acts as a pre-emergent herbicide that only kills weed seeds before sprouting. Applying this formula to established weeds may increase weed growth and production.

About the Author


Laura Wallace Henderson, a professional freelance writer, began writing in 1989. Her articles appear online at Biz Mojo, Walden University and various other websites. She has served as the co-editor for "Kansas Women: Focus on Health." She continues to empower and encourage women everywhere by promoting health, career growth and business management skills.