The Q&A Archives: Weedy Vegetable Garden

Question: What is the best way to prevent an excess of weeds in the vegetable garden? Our flower gardens have weeds but they are manageable. If we don't get in our vegetable garden DAILY to weed, it becomes over-run and takes the pleasure out of gardening. Would putting a mulch or bark help to prevent weeds if applied after the plants begin to grow?

Answer: Mulch is an excellent way to control weeds in the vegetable garden; it can also help keep the soil temperature moderate and conserve moisture. Another important benefit of using an organic mulch such as shredded bark or straw or even cardboard is that it will also feed the soil as it breaks down.

Other weed control strategies include lightly disturbing the soil early and often to kill weed seeds germinating or nearly germinating at the soil surface (deeper cultivation brings more seeds to the surface where they can then germinate); preventing existing weeds from setting seed thus preventing the next generation; and in some cases avoiding the use of horse manure unless it has been composted in a hot pile as it tends to be full of weed seeds.

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