Monday, October 29, 2012

How to prevent weeds in a vegetable garden

Dandelion seeds

Q. Do you have any ideas for preventing weeds in a vegetable garden?

A. Indeed, I do. First, make sure you pull weeds before they go to seed. This requires diligence. If weeds go to seed, the problem is perpetuated.

When you pull weeds, don't drop them on the ground. They may take root again. Instead, put them in your compost pile.

Mulch your garden generously. Mulch not only prevents weeds from germinating, it also conserves moisture and moderates soil temperature. When organic mulch decomposes, it improves the quality of your soil. Good organic mulch material includes straw from harvested grains, chopped leaves, grass clippings, shredded paper (don't use paper printed with colored ink), and peanut hulls. You can also mulch with finished compost.

Lay strips of used carpeting between your raised beds. It allows water to permeate through it, smothers weeds and provides a cleaner surface for walking. Old vinyl floor covering works well, too, but it doesn't allow water to soak through.

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