Vegetable Garden Question

Asked October 26, 2016, 6:29 PM EDT

I have a vegetable garden with raised bed boxes that are separated by a couple of feet to allow easy access and movement in the garden. I have asked a questions before without response so am hopeful of some assistance. 1. I have tried garden cloth between the boxes without success to keep the weeds down between the boxes. I also have cedar mulch under the trees around the yard with an abundance of weeds to pull throughout the summer and have gravel in front of the house that seems to promote weed growth. QUESTION: what is the most successful "filler" to put between vegetable garden boxes to help control the unwanted plants? 2. What should I be doing now to prepare my garden for winter and get ready for spring? I have been told "put down a layer of compost now" and " it's time to fertilize the garden (chemically) for spring planting. What should I do?

Olmsted County Minnesota weed control fall tasks vegetable gardening

1 Response

Thank you for the question. As you have discovered, weeds are persistent and will find ways of emerging despite our attempts to foil them! It's best to think about weed control rather than total elimination and even then there is not one "best" way. Your idea of landscape fabric is fine but you will need to put something over it to a depth not exceeding 6 inches, like wood chips, to really prevent most weeds from growing. Even then, there will be a few weeds here and there but that's the best you can hope for. Read our publication about mulching in the home landscape to learn more: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/soils/mulching-the-home-landscape/ Here is more information about organic mulches: http://articles.extension.org/pages/65025/organic-mulching-materials-for-weed-management The problem with gravel or rock mulch is that organic material breaks down between the stones and eventually creates a wonderful compost for stray weed seeds to take hold. To get your beds ready for the winter, remove all plant material and discard or compost. Fall is a wonderful time to dig in compost to improve the structure of your soil. Chemical fertilizers can move through the soil quickly so wait until next spring to apply this is needed. Thank you for contacting Extension.