I am new to vegetable gardening and I apoligize if this is a stupid
My vegetable garden is being overrun by weeds. I'm not sure what to do
about this. The process of pulling the weeds is time consuming and
back-breaking. I use cypress mulch in my flower beds with much success. Is
there any reason that I can't use the same cypress mulch in my vegetable
garden? I've heard of using newspaper, and this sounds like a great idea,
but I'm not sure that I could keep it on the ground, as it can get very
windy here in southeast Nebraska. I'd like to incorporate the use of both
newspaper and cypress mulch, by laying the paper down, several sheets
thickness and put the cypress mulch down over it, heavy enough that it would
hold down the paper when it becomes dry and might otherwise blow away.
Any advise/comments/recommendations are appreciated.
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Yep, wood and/or bark mulch are inconvenient in the veggie garden. It's
harder to plant row crops, or add fresh plants in the late summer for fall
crops. Plus, I've noticed that annuals in general don't like the heavy
structure of wood mulch--when I stick extras in the perennial beds, they
sometimes fail to thrive.
I use newspaper covered with straw (keep a hose handy while laying out the
newspaper, and wet it down to keep it from blowing). It's easy to pull
aside for planting, and has largely broken down by the following spring.
Zone 6, South-central PA
As farmerdill suggests, this mulch works as well as other mulches when
it comes to weed suppression and water retention, but in the case of
veggies you would also like a more neutral pH and higher nitrogen
content (of course you could get that by also adding lime or wood ash,
to adjust pH, and fertilizer to adjust N).
But if you have tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and potatoes, they can
usually take the bark's acidity. Beets, chard, and some cabbages will
dislike it though.
Okay, you've got the idea about using straw, leaves, etc., as mulch to
suppress the weeds. But in places where you have bare dirt, instead of
waiting until the weeds have grown large and are taking over and need to
be pulled out one by one, you can on a hot day scratch the soil surface so
the weeds while still small have their roots exposed and soon dehydrate in
the sun and die. Don't water that area for a day or two afterwards to make
sure none revive.
You can carry out this with a long handled hoe, Dutch hoe, or a 3-prong
scuffler. Keep up this routine, and the weeds never get to the size of
needing to be painstakingly pulled out by hand. Save your back! Just
raking the soil to break it up will be sufficient to kill off most weeds
when they are small provided the weather is dry and sunny. Repeat as
John Savage (news address invalid; keep news replies in newsgroup)
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