The Q&A Archives: Garden Weed Control

Question: I have been using grass clippings in attempt to control weeds in my vegetable garden. It works fair at best, weeds still seem to come through. Can you advise me on a good weed control method as I no longer have spare time to pull weeds for hours?

Answer: Mulching is probably the least work in controlling weeds. You may need to use a thicker layer, several inches deep, to get the results you want. Another thing to try is using several layers of dampened newspaper beneath the mulch. This is very helpful if you have some perennial weeds. A quick and easy mulch is pads of straw pulled off the bale like pats cut from a stick of butter. The pads will stay in place all season and can be worked into the soil when they begin to break down. They also have fewer weed seeds than hay. Apply the mulsh immediately after preparing the soil to prevent the largest number of weeds. Finally, if weeds are already beginning to emerge, lightly scratching or disturbing just the top inch of soil once or twice a few days apart can destroy a large number of weed seedlings and germinating seeds. If you do this just prior to laying down newspaper and mulching on top of that, you should not have many weeds at all.

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