Answer: Hand pulling and/or suffocating the weeds with cardboard or several thicknesses of newspaper is a good first step in helping your veggie patch become weed free. The second step is either applying pre emergent (such as Preen) to keep weed seeds from germinating, or using a thick mulch material over the bare soil in the garden. In fact, 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. If weeds are still an ongoing problem you may want to dig everything into the soil next spring and then cover the entire garden with a weed blocking landscape fabric. You can cut holes into the fabric to plant your veggies. The weed block allows water to penetrate but stops sunlight so weed seeds cannot germinate beneath it. Good luck with your garden!
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