How to stop weeds in the vegetable garden

Asked May 16, 2018, 6:54 PM EDT

Hi, I'm wondering what kind of cover I should put in my vegetable (tomato and beans) garden to prevent weed growth. Wood chips? Straw? Leaves? Etc.? Thanks!

Clay County Minnesota

6 Responses

Mulching your veggie beds will help with moisture retention, disease AND weed control!

There are lots of options: Leaf mulch - keep some leaves over the winter until they start to break down a bit; hay - don't use straw, it often has weeds, and you don't want to add more; grass clippings (if you treat your lawn, don't use this option). I would avoid wood chips, you want something that will break down more quickly, wood chips will not do this.

follow-up question: where to get leaf mulch or hay mulch in Clay County MN?

Hay can be purchased at most garden centers. You can make your own leaf mulch, but it takes a bit of preparation and it would be useful for next growing season. Here is a good tutorial on how to make it:

I'll try making mulch for next year. In the meantime, I've checked with half a dozen garden centers, and none of them carry hay or hay mulch, or even straw. I'm a bit surprised by this. Only wood mulch and rubber mulch (?!) are available!

I am also surprised to hear this. Even Home Depot carries hay bales here in the Cities. I'm not sure what to tell you. I still wouldn't advise using wood chips (and definitely not rubber! :)). I've also seen people use burlap sacks, newspaper, or cardboard as mulches. The newspaper would be effective with grass clippings.

I'll look for straw or hay