Get rid of weeds, finally!

It seems that no matter how thorough I am, I am still faced with grass and weeds in my vegetable garden come summer. I don’t want to spend my whole summer weeding. Help!

Question:

While all gardeners will have to do some weeding, there are steps you can take to minimize the task. Cover the entire garden with black plastic or large tarps for a few weeks in early spring. This helps kill early sprouting weed seeds. When you remove the plastic, till the soil, wait a week or so for more seeds to sprout, then till again.

Mulch the pathways heavily, so at least you won't have to weed them. One easy, inexpensive mulch is a thick layer of newspapers laid flat in the row, followed by a layer of mulch. You could also use black plastic, landscape fabric, wood chips or sawdust, or a very thick layer of grass clippings or hay.

Plant seed in rows (rather than scattering them), so you can easily hoe between the rows. As soon as seedlings are up, begin mulching around them. For large, heat-loving plants like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant, lay a piece of black landscape fabric or plastic over the row, cut holes in it, and plant your seedlings through the holes.

Finally, to keep the surrounding lawn from encroaching, dig a 6- to 8-inch trench around the entire garden. All these things take a little time in spring, but they are well worth the effort and will save you a lot of time later on in the season. Also, each year you will decrease the weediness of the garden.

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