Before sowing or planting, you make the soil weed free, loose and airy.
If you pull out weed, take it as low to the ground as possible and pull right straight up. Ensure that the root comes along. Who else shoots in most cases back up. Probably first toss the ground a bit loose with a garden claw.

WielSchoffelDuring continuous cultivation of maize stubborn weeds emerge: barnyard grass (Echinochloa crus-galli), green foxtail (Setaria viridis), white goosefoot (Chenopodium album), black nightshade (Solanum nigrum), couch grass (Elytrigia repens), hedge bindweed (Convolvulus sepium). Chemical control sometimes seems to solve the problem by killing the most. But the few remaining copies are resistant successors, making the problem even worse later.

Who let weeds come in the seed, has to go for seven years weeding. The life of many seeds is 3 to 8 years. After a year of operation is halved, and after 7 years even 1% is left. So that old saying has a grain of truth.

By burrowing less you get less weeds. Otherwise you give thousands of weed seeds from the seed bank the minimal pulse of light they need to start the germination.
Rye and potatoes are crops that suppress weeds well.

If you spud or chop roots are severed. Some herbs shoot back out of those bits. So you are multiplying the plant! Hoeing you often repeat, so that the upper layer remains loose, dry and free of weeds. That loose layer acts as mulch. It protects the soil partially from dry out further, lets loose cut herbs and roots drying out and reduces the germination of weeds. Until everything is fastened by rain again.
 Weeding you do before the plant forms and spreads seeds.

“Weeding is censorship on nature.”(Oskar Kokoschka)
“In the desert weeds are an oasis.”(Zarko Petan)
“Weeds: plant that grows according to the man in the wrong place.”(Donald Culross Peattie)

If your vegetables germinate and grow weeding or hoeing is even more important. All of the plants are competing with each other. Above ground for space and sunlight, and under the ground for support, nutrients and water.

wiedenWeeding looks incalculable to you? It seems to be an impossible challenge? Concentrate on 1m2, at your feet. Take the largest plants off first, you will get a view of the matter. And systematically continue.

Study carefully the roots of the weeds. You must eradicate indeed evil with the root. Learn to recognize them. Dig them out. Are they long, straight tap roots? They break easily? Are they widespread, near-surface current tentacles? Then you know how to remove them best. Without (too much) fractures. It will usually be appropriate to break the ground with a 3-Tine hand cultivator, then the roots break less quickly apart. They are full of energy to get started immediately after weeding diligently again.
Take the plant just above the root, more preferably to the top part of the root. Pull the biggest first off, pulled out roots make the soil loose so that smaller herbs also come out easily without breaking down.

In severe cases, you have to break the bottom completely to loss kernels with a fork (spade cuts the roots) and shake the roots and dig. Couch grass is an example. In Lutselus (Diepenbeek), there is a statue of a petteme shaker. (Petteme are the thick white weed roots of Couch grass.) It can without poison. But takes a lot of work and time. So that statue is well deserved.

For nettles and others plants with suckers you also follow smaller and less (or not) rooted branches. They come apart easily. Try also clamping and pulling already broken roots as long as possible. Loosen the soil a little with a three- teeth or claw, so you don’t chop the roots too much. If you do not have enough time to finish the job: moonlight is sufficient. In cloudless nights with lots of moonlight you really see sufficient for this. Of those there are many in one year. And it's something different.

pettemA major advantage of weeding: nothing poisons and pollutes.
It costs no money, but a lot of time.
But above all, you can work very selective, I often let bird weed between the crops. That is an excellent ground cover, good as lettuce, afterwards, if desired, yet always easy and quick to scratch away. The chickens love it like crazy (hence the name)-.
In one shadow corner you can leave a fern, or some nettles (to make fertilizer, spray or soup) on the meadow you leave grass leafs...

Between small seedlings with only two tiny sprout leaves, you cannot always recognize the weeds. Then you just let them stand. Much bigger it is, so much easier you will recognize it. And after a year or two, you know it very early.

To do prickly thistles away farmers had a weed extractor, a generally semicircular blade with barbs on the sides like a harpoon. Easy to go in the ground and to pull out the long taproot (of thistle, comfrey,...). Do it when the thistles are very young, otherwise you do not get the whole root out, and you multiply on.

A set of knee pads and gloves make the work more comfortable. With thick gloves you have no more feeling to what you do, so use thin, or none. Then you have more fingerspitzengefül (intuitive or ‘fingertip’ feeling). Just a little too much to weed nettles...

My permanent equipment to weed: a large bucket (25 liters), a foam knee pad (or knee pads), a heel with a pitchfork to toss the soil loose. I hang with clothespins on the outside of the bucket gloves (for nettles and thistles) and a bag for non - compostable waste (plastic pieces ed.)

Weed gives you info about the soil, fertilizer, humidity, acidity. In a plant guide you find their preferences.