Answer: Mulch is a great for controlling weeds. It also retains soil moisture and as it breaks down it provides nutrients to the soil. Any organic matter can be used as mulch. Try compost, bark, wood chips, straw, or pine needles. As it breaks down, dig it into your soil and add more. I like compost because it is already greatly decomposed and is adding nutrients to the soil. If you don't like that "look" you could put 1-2 inches of compost down and then put another layer of something else, such as bark chips, over it. Good luck with your new perennial garden!
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