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how to stop weeds from growing in your vegetable garden

How to stop weeds from growing in your vegetable garden

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This article was co-authored by Andrew Carberry, MPH. Andrew Carberry has been working in food systems since 2008. He has a Masters in Public Health Nutrition and Public Health Planning and Administration from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

A weed is any plant that poses a threat or is a nuisance. Weeds can grow in lawns, fields, gardens or any outdoor area. Typically invasive, weeds rob vegetable plants of resources needed for growth, including nutrients, water and sunlight. Weeds also host pathogens that can infect a garden with vegetative diseases. While there is no way to permanently eliminate weeds without killing your vegetables, there are many strategies you can use to minimize weed growth.

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Weeds can be frustrating when they start taking over your garden, but fortunately there are simple ways to keep them out. Whenever you notice weeds emerging, use a stirrup hoe or rake to disturb the soil around their roots. This will make them dry up and die. You can also lay an organic mulch, like dead leaves, straw, or grass clippings, on top of your soil, to suffocate the weeds. Just make sure you leave the areas around your plants bare. Another option is to apply a pre-emergent herbicide to the soil to kill the weeds as they grow. However, herbicides can also harm other plants so choose one that won’t damage the plants you want to keep. For more tips from our Agricultural co-author, including how to build a raised garden bed to keep weeds away, read on!

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How to stop weeds from growing in your vegetable garden

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If you’re a new gardener—or you’re working in a wild and weedy space—the first season will likely be a rough one. Commit (and stick) to a weeding schedule, and don’t take on more space than you can manage. If you have more weeds than you can handle, keep weedy areas mowed until you’re ready to conquer them.

Great post! These interesting tips and suggestions will do good to every gardener. I did a post too on managing a garden. I hope it may be of some help here. You can read it here:

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More on controlling weeds

I find fabric just gets in the way. The weeds will root on top of the soil regardless of whether fabric is down or not. I find a good layer of mulch, 3-4 inches thick, weeding by hand, making sure to get the roots, works best. Mulch will feed the plants as it breaks down, keep the bed cool, and retain moisture when it rains.

Keep it hot. Running a hot heap calls for precise mixing and remixing of materials. Rather than struggle to heat up a heap that wants to run cold, I suggest waiting until a weedy heap reaches a nearly rotted state to set things right. From there, you can solarize small batches of moist compost in black plastic nursery liners that are enclosed in clear plastic bags and placed in the sun for two to three days.

Great tips! Another one is to mow your lawn 3” or higher. This will help provide a better environment for the
grass and a less desirable environment for weeds, resulting in a greener,
thicker lawn. http://grasshopperlawns.com/weed-control/

1. Let sleeping weeds lie

Heat treating weedy compost destroys many of the microscopic life-forms that give compost its punch, so it’s a good idea to reprocess cooked compost for two to three weeks before using it in the garden. Place it in a plastic storage bin with a handful of earthworms borrowed from your garden and it will soon be laced with humic acids and other plant-pleasing compounds.

When you can’t remove weeds, the next best thing is to chop off their heads. With annual weeds, dead­heading buys you a few weeks of time before the weed “seed rain” begins. Cutting back the tops of perennial weeds, like bindweed, reduces reseeding and forces them to use up food reserves and exhaust their supply of root buds, thus limiting their spread.