Weeds in the garden are one of the major reasons that vegetables do not produce abundantly. Weeds can provide a habitat for bugs that eat vegetables and act as a host for diseases. Weeds also steal nutrients, water and sunlight from the soil, which vegetables need to thrive. There are a number of strategies that you can employ in your garden to control weeds. Varying strategies is the most effective form of weed control.
Break up any existing weeds with a rototiller before planting your vegetables. Comb through the soil with a garden rake to remove roots and stalks.
Plant your vegetables. Select plants that have good ability to smother weeds around them, or grow faster than weeds. Plants that either vine or grow tall, such as squash, beans, pumpkin, cucumber, potato, tomato and melons, are good choices. Plants that grow low to the ground, such as lettuce, carrot, pepper, greens and onions, do not outgrow weeds.
Mulch your garden with black plastic, straw or wood chips to prevent new weeds from germinating. A thick layer of mulch will choke out weeds and prevent seeds from sprouting by blocking light that weed seeds need to germinate.
Cultivate weeds with a garden hoe when they are small. Small weed sprouts do not have an extensive root system, and are easy to remove.