Mulch is a ground covering, either organic such as decaying leaves, straw, Grass clippings or assorted compost. Non-organic such as plastic sheeting, newspaper, cardboard or innate such as pebbles and pumice.
Newspapers are very useful as Mulch
Laying a mat of newspaper over the surface will block out light from the soil below making it impossible for plants - weeds to grow. Newspaper forms itself to the lands contours . Placing a layer of straw or other organic material or even pebbles on top of the newspaper works even better.
Another advantage to the newspaper mulch is that it keeps earth worms in your garden and keeps birds from pecking at the soil in search of them. When you lift the remnants of the papers at season end you're apt to find earth worms in abundance beneath.
Some people use cardboard, which will work also but not as well as newspaper - it doesn't mold itself to the lands contours as readily which leaves air pockets below it, and within its layers, that form a haven for many unwanted insects. It also isn't as porous as newspaper and until it is well worked in does not allow as much water through - it creates puddles. For these same reason when using newspaper avoid shiny, colored newspapers and magazine type papers.
Landscape Fabric aka landscape cloth works better than newspaper. If you are willing to spend the bucks for it - it suffocates any weeds that manage to emerge below it and prevents weeds that emerge in the mulch above it from penetrating through and getting established in the soil.
Pathways in the garden , walkways - should be marked and covered as well. Saturated newspapers or biodegradable paper covered with straw, pebble or other mulch works fine. Weeds that become established in your walkways will quickly spread to your cropped area so they need to be suppressed as well.
Intense inter-cropping, using the principles of Companion Planting is also useful in weed suppression. Vegetable plants that are symbiotically inter-planted and snuggled up to one another take up all available space and shade the ground, which discourages wild grasses and weeds from getting a foothold.
Salt and Vinegar for Weed Control
Salt is sometimes used to kill weeds - it dehydrates plants and kills them - it is effective, but also comes with a host of problems and side effects.
Used overextended periods of time , or in large enough quantities salt degrades soil structure and makes your garden inhospitable not only to the weeds you sought to destroy , but the plants you sought to protect.
Salt is only cost effective in small-scale gardening and only when used infrequently. It should never be sprinkled too close to vegetable plants.
Vinegar is another home remedy suggested to combat invasive weeds. Supermarket vinegar has a high concentration of acetic acid which in the proper dosage is good for plants, but in the concentrations of vinegar intended for culinary use is harmful to your vegetable garden. It kills off the tops of any weeds it comes into contact with, but not he roots - so they only grow back.
Agricultural vinegar is eco-friendly, inexpensive and effective and is generally used diluted.
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