Next to wildlife eating your vegetation there is nothing more frustrating then weeds in the home vegetable garden. They seem to come out nowhere, and are extremely resilient. They compete with your vegetable plants for the very nutrients that exist within your soil. The more weeds that you have the more resources they are using which means less for your plants. Here is how you can take a few steps and reduce the weeds.
The only supplies you will need are newspaper and mulch. I like to mix black, dark mulch with compost from my compost pile. You will see why in a moment. The tools you will need are a rake and/or a shovel, but you can also do this all by hand. Throw in your garden hose with a spray nozzle that has the “mist” setting and you are ready to go.
Your first step is to take your newspaper and layer it over your topsoil. The newspaper acts as a weed barrier. You could use the commercial weed barrier that you see at many home and garden centers, but newspaper can be free if you convince your neighbors to give you their copy after they have read it.
When putting down your newspaper, I like to double layer it. That makes it “thick” enough to act as a great barrier, but porous enough for water and nutrients to get to the soil. As a side not, do not use any laminated sections of your newspaper as they may not be safe for your garden due to the inks used.
It’s best to wait until it is not very windy out as the newspaper is very light and will blow fairly easily. If you are working on a windy day you might want to throw some mulch on now to keep the paper down.
With your newspaper spread out over your entire garden, use your garden hose and set your nozzle to mist and water the paper. This will help keep it down while you prepare for the next step. You don’t want to drench it. You want to lightly mist it with water so that it is damp and has some weight to it, to keep it down.
In our next step we want to cover the newspaper we had just laid down. To cover the newspaper, I like to use a black mulch mixed with compost I have made so as both resources decompose into my garden they also add nutrients. Take your mulch/compost mix and put it down over top of the newspaper no less than two inches thick. This gives plenty of weight to keep the paper down, enough to cover the paper, but more importantly, impedes weed growth while retaining water moisture in the soil, especially when it gets hot during the later summer months.
Weeds are annoying but they do not have to be a problem, and they certainly should never be a reason as to why you should not have a home vegetable garden. If you follow the information above you will eliminate ninety to ninety-five percent of the weeds that you will get on occasion. Now all you have to do is get up in the morning and pick the one or two weeds you will get and that will keep your garden 100% weed free.
About the Author
Mike is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A guide to vegetable gardening for the rest of us, available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and where ever gardening books are sold. He can be reached at his wesbite: AveragePersonGardening.com where you can sign up for his free newsletter and he will send you a pack of vegetable seeds to get your home vegetable garden started.
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