Weeding Vegetable Garden - Knowledgebase Question

New Boston, MI
Question by sweetpea18
August 11, 1998
Any suggestions you may have about weed control in a vegetable garden would really help me. Any products you might recommend to help me would be appreciated. I'm not sure what products to use that won't burn out my plants. My garden usually consists of tomatoes, cucumbers, zuccinnis, green peppers and pumpkins.


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Answer from NGA
August 11, 1998

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Most gardeners would prefer not to use chemical sprays any more than necessary. There are few products labeled for weed control in a home vegetable garden and they can be a bit troublesome to use effectively. As a result, I think the best weed control is the mulch and paper method. Here is how it works:

Begin by wetting the weeds with a sprinkler. This will cause them to lay down a bit and will give the soil a good soaking. If weeds are too tall you may need to use a mower or weedeater to cut them down first. Next lay newspaper about 4 sheets thick. Cover the entire soil surface with paper, overlapping the edges a little and placing the paper right up against the stems of your vegetables, flowers and shrubs to completely shade the surface.

Wet the papers as you lay sections to keep them from blowing away. Next, cover the newspaper with leaves, compost, hay or another aesthetically appealing mulch. Then wait! No plant can live without light. Weeds under the paper will die. In a few months the paper will be decomposed. In the meantime, pull any weeds that peek out of a hole in the paper.

When planting a new area, lay the paper and leaves on the bed and later poke holes for transplants or larger seeds. When smaller seeds are used or a row is planted, you can adjust the procedure by leaving a narrow strip of soil (1 to 2 inches) uncovered for later planting.

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