How to stop weeds in the vegetable garden
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
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: http://www.hereandthere.org/making-mulch/making-mulch-from-leaves.html
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