Almost anyone can keep weeds out of their garden if they’re willing to use enough chemicals. After all, that’s what the government encourages farmers to do.
But as we know, those chemicals can’t just be washed off your crops. They soak in and negatively affect the taste and nutrition value of your fruits and vegetables.
Not to mention the fact that those chemicals can cause long-term physical problems for anyone eating food that has come into contact with them.
Fortunately, there are natural ways to keep weeds out of your garden. And that’s a good thing because in addition to being ugly, weeds can steal the essential nutrients, minerals and moisture your vegetables and fruits need.
Cover Walking Rows
The first thing you can do is cover your walking rows with bark chips or mulch consisting of shredded leaves or straw. This will save time because you won’t have to till, hoe and weed those rows. It will allow you to focus your time on the areas of the garden that produce your food.
Cover Your Soil
Another way to eliminate weeds from your garden is by avoiding bare soil. You can accomplish this with mulch during the spring and summer growing months. Your best bet here is a natural mulch such as compost.
Then, each time it rains, your plants will receive both moisture and fertilizer. Use about a two-inch layer of mulch in an area approximately one foot in diameter around each plant. Straw or shredded leaves are good enough for the other growing row areas.
Use Cover Crops
Finally, plant cover crops for the colder months. They will provide nitrogen for the soil, help maintain moisture and reduce weeds. Examples of cover crops are rye, hairy vetch, buckwheat, sorghum-sudangrass and clover.
Give these cover crops time to get established by planting them about four weeks before the first frost. Rake your seeds into the soil so that birds don’t steal them. Water them if necessary and mow them when they start to get long. Cut at the base of the plant to kill them before you plant seeds in the spring.