Weed Abatement 101 With Actress/Comedienne and Gardening Enthusiast Anne-Marie Johnson

Background Information:

  • I started gardening as a part of my household family chores. That grew into a love all things plants. I took some botany classes while earning my degree in Theater at UCLA. I made extra money starting a two-person business with a friend, designing and installed gardens. Gardening is fantastic therapy! It helps you truly stay in the moment. It’s like meditating, and gardening is great exercise!


  • In order to have a healthy garden we first we have to remove any existing weeds that have cropped up over winter. There are all kinds of organic weed killers available. But there is no better weed control than preventing them in the first place!
  • The best time to do weed abatement is early on in the spring. Summer is too late. By then, the root system is established and the soil is dryer, so the earth is tougher to work with. Plus, who wants to work in the uncomfortable heat and humidity of the summer?
  • For prevention, you don’t need any fancy tools to get rid of weeds. Just gardening gloves and your regular trowel will do. But make sure your tools are sharpened for better results and less wear and tear on your hands and wrists.
  • I like to use a great product called “weed barrier fabric.” It comes in rolls for around $15.00 for 3 feet by 50 feet. The idea is to block the weeds while still allowing water, air, and nutrients to go through.
  • You can find it online, or in any local hardware or gardening store. Try to support your local nurseries, though. They tend to provide more variety of products and they have better trained employees than big box stores.
  • You can buy standard plastic-based material. You can also find fabric made of recycled plastic bottles. Today, we are using fabric made of recycled paper, so you know it’s okay for the planet.
  • When cutting the fabric allow an extra 6 inches all around in addition to what you need for your garden bed. If you have multiple garden bed sections, be sure to overlap no more than 1 inch where the fabric edges meet each other in the bed.
  • Here’s a helpful hint: Newspaper and paper bags work, too! They will create a good sun barrier and it’s definitely cheaper than the weed barrier fabric. The ink is non-toxic, so it’s still eco-friendly. But it doesn’t last as long. If you do want to use newspaper or paper bags, just be sure to soak the newspaper in water before you use it and be sure to have at least a half-inch thick of newspaper.
  • To lay the cloth, place it over the bed using the 6 inches of excess fabric as an anchor. Bury the cloth at the edge of the bed. Then, just replace the soil, mulch, gravel, etc., on top of the cloth to hold it in place.
  • The weed barrier fabric will stay in place pretty well all by itself. But if you want it extra secure, you can use lawn staples or fabric pegs. I like the corn-based fabric pegs because they are eco-friendly.
  • Rake the mulch back annually and inspect the cloth for shifting. Pull it back into place and replace the mulch. It should last you multiple seasons.

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How to Start a Garden
How to Start a Garden