Keeping your garden weed free- organically!!!
– Use pine needles between the garden beds (free!). They are acidic and will prevent growth of weeds for that season. They decompose over winter and will provide mulch between the beds for the spring (ie things will grow again). However, if you keep doing this year after year, the weed seeds that are able to germinate will have already and then died.
– Use straw or mulch hay (not so free). The mulch will block the sunlight and block the weeds. Often you can ask a straw/hay farmer if they have any spoiled bails and get a cheap rate for mulch. It’s going to mold anyway when you put it on the ground.
– Use your extra leaves as mulch between the garden beds (free!). Use shredded leaves as a soil cover and mulch in your garden beds. The leaves attract the worms, which leave “black gold” in the growing area of your garden beds. Plus the mulch keeps the soil moist, retaining water for your vegetable plant roots. Soil is “alive”. It needs moisture to stay alive too!
– Manual intervention takes energy and enthusiasm, but if done right it’s easy (free!). I’ve been doing this for years. Every time I go out to the garden, I pull a “bad” weed out. Sometimes I’ll pull several and sometimes I’ll pull a single weed. Every time you do this you ensure there won’t be any seeds for this kind of weed next year. After a few years, the weeds slowly go away. I also will dig up troublesome weeds every now and then. This is a chemical free to clear your garden or even your lawn over several years. While it does take time, it is very effective and costs little.