Weed Control for the Garden — Mulch

I have tried to keep the weeds under control this year. 
The weeds are not taking us over and it has proven to be much better than the previous gardens we have had.   It has required continuous monitoring and mulching.  I have pulled very few weeds and have instead used the hay/straw mulch method to cover the weeds that do pop up in the garden.  Hubby got the weed eater out and mowed down the edges of the garden and fence line…then added more hay. 
In a few areas, I added brown paper grocery sacks, paper feed sacks and card board—biodegradable weed barriers– around my tomato starts.  That is working well…I should have added more when the plants were smaller.  I have found that adding these heavier paper barriers are helping keep the weeds down and the moisture in.  The garden is not weed free…but is very manageable.  I am not overwhelmed with weeds when I go out to the garden and that has been the biggest encouragement!

june garden1

Overall, I have been very pleased with the hay mulch gardening method.  However, after I saw a 4 foot long snake skin laying near my tomatoes, I didn’t go out to the garden for several days.  I still haven’t managed to overcome the undeniable fact that snakes and rats are probably making  themselves a very nice neighborhood underneath all that hay I have been adding.  I don’t think my gardening days will quite be the same since that unfortunate discovery. 

june garden2

We have  still had to deal with the normal pests—squash bugs, tomato bugs and various other pests.  We have been using a spray bottle with water and soap to help deter those pests and while they are not completely eradicated…we have made a dent in the population.  We are also checking the leaves and killing any eggs or bugs we see.  Today, we mixed up some out-of-date cayenne pepper sauce with water and will be trying it out as a pest control as well. 

4 Comments

  • blodgettbunch6 says:

    I am just curious which “soapy solution” worked best on your squash bugs. My son grows pumpkins every year, and he simply squishes the pests with his fingers when he sees them – but there are times I have to help out, and I would much rather NOT use my fingers! 🙂

  • Elise says:

    I am so loving newspaper and mulch too!
    Er… the snake does sort of creep me out though 🙂

  • BethTN says:

    snakes are creepy for sure!!! I hate them! The bad thing is we keep seeing “signs” of him or them…but not actually catching them yet…
    One of the boys saw a nice big one the other day…but by the time he came in to get the rest of the boys…the snake was long gone. Probably in my garden hiding somewhere 😉 Nice….

  • BethTN says:

    soapy solution… I used the soap I bought from Costco—the big jug of Kirkland brand “enviromentally friendly” dish soap. It is in a big white jug.
    I put some soap in a spray bottle…filled it up with water…shake until pretty soapy– and sprayed it all over the plant leaves (don’t put water on plants in full day hot sun) — you have to soap them up regularly–every other day or so. Smashing bugs and spraying the soapy solution has helped us out around here.
    Our plants are not wonderfully perfect—but they are yielding fruit!

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