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!
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.
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 Today, we mixed up some out-of-date cayenne pepper sauce with water and will be trying it out as a pest control as well.