Growing vegetables during the summer can be a great way to cut down on grocery costs and cultivate beautiful, rich produce that is unlike anything you've ever tasted before.
Unfortunately, keeping your vegetable garden looking clean and tidy can be a downright struggle. Weeds grow at an alarming rate, and no sooner do you plant and water your vegetables, you'll find a wide variety of weeds taking sprout.
The issue with weeds in the garden is that they can stunt the growth of your vegetables, taking vital nutrients from the other plants just to expand their own rooting system. Getting rid of weeds is imperative when trying to establish a lush and large veggie garden.
Mulch and Cover Crop
Mulch has a variety of benefits for gardeners, which makes it one of the best options when trying to get rid of weeds. Not only does mulch hold onto water and keep your veggie plants moistened, but it helps to reduce and even prevent excessive weed growth throughout the garden. There are a wide range of mulch options for gardens, but wood chippings and sawdust are the most preferred for vegetables.
You can also invest in a cover crop product, which essentially covers the dirt around your vegetables to prevent the sun and rain from hitting anything other than the crops themselves. This is ideal for preventing weeds from growing because they have nowhere to sprout naturally. Cover crops can be a bit more difficult to work with because you will need to lay out the cover before you plant the vegetables and ensure that the plants have adequate room to grow.
Weed killing sprays are incredibly effective. The spray contains an herbicide that is specifically made to kill vegetation. One of the main problems with using a weed killing spray is that it can be all too easy to accidentally hit your vegetable plants. Weed killers are so potent that even the slightest drop on a leaf of vegetation will eventually kill the plant that was sprayed, so be wary when using these products and take your time spraying the weeds. If you're afraid of hurting your plants, pulling your weeds is safer.
Pulling: Techniques and Tools
The old-fashioned technique of pulling out your weeds is still a preferred method by many gardeners. You don't have to worry about chemical sprays, barriers or powders that can all have a negative impact on healthy plant growth.
There are many handheld tools that have been created to make pulling weeds a little bit easier. These can sometimes even be used while standing, which takes pressure off your back and knees. Unfortunately, pulling weeds is effective while you're doing it, but don't be surprised if you find more weeds growing just days later.
Keep Plants Close Together
A technique to use in the garden to inhibit weed growth is to plant your vegetables as close together as they can possibly be. This gives very little room for weeds to sprout and prevents the need for pulling, sprays or mulch products. Most vegetable varieties do well when they're planted close together since it's easier to adequately water them.