We all love to grow organic, nutritious fresh vegetables in our backyards. Gardening doesn’t only let us have fresh and chemical-free food but also brings us closer to nature. According to a survey in 2019, in the United States of America, almost 48% of households enjoy gardening. Nurturing small plants into fully grown productive plants brings an entirely different dimension of satisfaction.
And almost all the gardeners encounter one common enemy-weeds!
Being a passionate and devoted gardener, you must know how bothersome weeds can be. Weeds are those unwanted wild plants that efficiently compete with your wanted plants for water, minerals, lights, and space. A study found that weeds can decrease your vegetable crop yield by about 37%.
Therefore, gardeners must pay extra attention to their regular removal. But how to do that? Today, we will let you know some of the most effective ways to prevent weeds in the vegetable garden.
How To Keep Weeds Out Of The Vegetable Garden Naturally?
The path to a successful weed-free vegetable garden is not impossible. All it needs is a little effort and diligence from your side. Weeds can be super annoying in the proper growth of vegetables.
Weeds clog up the fields and compete with desired plants for moisture, food, and space. The following ways can be very useful in preventing weeds in the vegetable garden:
One way to prevent the potential threat of weeds is the shading method (also known as cultural methods). The shading method is to use such vegetables that can efficiently suppress weeds growth.
Vegetables that can compete well with weeds for moisture, nutrients, and space. Use the vegetable that can effectively suppress (Shade) the growth of the weeds. Examples of such vegetables are beans, peas, cucumbers, corn, sweet potatoes, Irish tomatoes, etc.
To get the desired results, don’t plant the chosen seed under multiple layers of soil. Regularly provide a proper amount of water and sufficient sunlight to the seed. Make sure you get the best quality seed that is free from weeds’ seeds.
It is also recommended that you run a soil quality test. It will give you a deeper understanding of how to stimulate the desired vegetable seed’s rapid growth.
For ages, mechanical methods are considered the most effective and toxic-free way to eliminate and prevent weeds around vegetables. When you see weeds with a tiny green leaf, lift them out right away.
The matured weeds can be hard to remove as their roots are tightly fixed under the soil. You would need a proper hoeing tool (e.g., scuffle hoes, onion hoe, garden weasel, etc.) to eliminate them. This may damage the roots of your desired vegetables.
The matured weeds also tend to have fast reproductivity and can produce unlimited weed seeds. Therefore, it is most salutary to eliminate them when they are yet to be fully matured.
Hoeing not only a natural method but is also a cost-effective way to prevent weeds in the vegetable garden. Taking proper care of a small vegetable garden may need you to shoulder a little burden of hoeing. But it is undoubtedly the best and most organic way to eliminate weeds.
How To Prevent Weeds In Vegetable Garden Over Winter?
The frosty weather can be a little cruel to your vegetables. Winter might not be the appropriate time to use your spade to dig in the soil. But it is the right time to prevent these unwanted plants.
Your little effort in removing the weeds in the winter will pay higher in summer. Weed removal in winter will noticeably reduce the effort and labor costs required for weeds removed in the summer.
Small vegetable garden owners can roll their sleeves up and remove the freshly sprout weeds with their hands. They can also necessary hoeing tools for minor weed removal. Remove all the weeds before they even start reproducing seeds.
This will let you have less or no weeds during summer plantation. For medium-sized or large fields, mulching can be the most suitable method in the winter to get rid of weeds.
Mulching is another way to prevent weeds in the vegetable garden. What you do is that you add a dry layer over your moist soil. This method prevents the growth of unwanted wild plants (weeds) around your desired plant.
The dry layer can be made of sawdust, shredded pieces of newspaper, plastic, rocks, bark chips, dry leaves, etc. This dry layer prevents the sunlight from reaching weed seeds and prevents the germination of weed seeds.
Mulching also keeps the soil moisturized for proper vegetable growth by retaining maximum moisture. Mulching reduces the water intake percentages and increases the yield of vegetable crops.
As weeds are unwanted wild plants, they don’t have enough power to get through the thick dry layer of mulching. Before applying the dry layer of mulch, make sure you have removed all the weeds around the area.
Generally, a 3 to 3.5-inches thick layer of sawdust, shredded pieces of newspaper or straw, manures, bark chips, or dry leaves, etc., is enough to provide expected results.
Generally speaking, two types of mulches are commonly known among gardeners and farmers- organic and inorganic. Organic mulches are things that are naturally obtained and can be easily decomposed in the soil.
Organic mulches ( e.g., sawdust, bark chips, or dry leaves, etc.) enhance the soil’s moisture and nutrients. At the same time, inorganic mulches can be black plastic, stones, rocks, or rubber chips, etc.
Which Mulch Type Is Better To Use In Winter?
Whether to use organic or inorganic mulch in winter depends on the nature of its functionality. Organic mulches are most appropriate to use during the warm season or in the spring.
Inorganic mulches are suitable to use in winter as they can increase soil temperature by at least six to eight Fahrenheit. Inorganic mulches also tend to work incredibly with frost heaving. Therefore, it is advisable to use an inorganic mulch to keep the soil warm during harsh winter.