Around mothers day we got our main garden planted. We were a little late on planting the cold hardy vegetables but the rest were right on time. In the past few years we’ve gone through an evolution of our garden and many attempts to prevent weeds. The first year we didn’t do anything but rake up some rows and plant some seeds and seedlings and there were tons of weeds. The next year we tried the black tarp/sheeting. This works great for our squash/pumpkin/zucchini garden but was horrible for the rest of the veggies in this garden. Halfway through the season we basically ripped up the plastic and went back to hoeing everything and trying to pull the weeds by hand. This works well around the plants but we wanted some walkways in between the rows of veggies…this is way too much dirt area for weed control. The next year we bought a red dragon weed torch, which, cost us around 40 dollars. This actually worked pretty well for the open walkways and the perimeter of the garden but if you got to close to a plant then it will get torched too.
Now for this years garden plan for combating weeds we built about 15 semi-raised beds to place inside our garden. The only things we didn’t plant inside raised beds were our tomatoes and our bean, pea and cucumber trellises. Then for our walkways we bought a ton of straw that we layered around everything. This way we are hoping that we can concentrate our weed pulling inside the boxes and around the plants themselves. While we were doing our research we came across someone who tried this method as well but they accidentally used hay instead of straw. Hay is basically still growing so instead of weed prevention they had a ton more weeds. So make sure you get straw not hay.
Our new garden plan seems to be working well and only a few larger weeds are popping through the straw which we can easily pull by hand. We also spray them with a homemade organic weedkiller out of vinegar and salt. The only problem we have now is that our chickens are getting through one side of our fence and scratching around in the hay. Dang chickens! We’re adding smaller hole fencing so we can keep out the chickens and rabbits. I guess we’ll have to wait and see soon how this new plan works out.