Newly Registered
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 10:49 am
Location: Illinois


What can you use to stop weeds from growing in the garden. I cant use pesticides because my 3 yr old loves to help me. I was told roofing paper but I thought that would kill my vegetables since most roofing paper has tar in it. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Green Thumb
Posts: 399
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2008 10:48 am
Location: VA

You can't stop them completely, but you can put a hurt on them. Use layers of black and white newspaper (no colored ads) or cardboard to help smother out weeds. Wet the newspaper or cardboard and it will breakdown over time in your beds, but the worms love it and it will smother a lot of weeds.

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Senior Member
Posts: 230
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 6:52 am
Location: North Georgia

The newspapers work very well. You also can use hay or straw too; although they can possibly lead to grass seed sprouting in the hay. Grass seeds slower than most weeds though, so it's easier to gradually 'weed out' . Just about anything like a mulch or compost, or in a pinch even fallen leaves will work as a weed supressor. You will still have to weed from time to time, but any kind of an organic ground cover will work to slow down the weeds and will also gradually fertilize the area as well; in addition to help hold moisture in the soil, for the plants roots.

Plastic sheeting or landscape fabric staked down with slits in it for the plants to grow through works well too; though it is sort of ugly and would benefit from having something put on it to help hold it down in the wind. Plastic also needs some extra holes in it to let water seep down into the soil. I have used the roofing paper before, underneath my strawberry bed. It worked well; so I don't know if the tar actually harmed the plants; they produced fine.

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 5:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

I like to pull the weeds out before laying down the newspaper or plastic sheeting. Invariably I have seen weeds eventually growing through the newspaper (which breaks down into to soil and is a good thing) and that plastic sheeting.

Be careful with plastic sheeting and find out what polymer it is. If it si PCBA and PVC do not use it. PCBA is very toxic and leaks into the environment, PVC itself is quite stable and inert however, it is also very brittle and plasticizers are added to it to make it more flexible and they leak into the environment (and our drinking water :( .

Anyway, my initial point was that I like to go over the weeds first and pull as many of them out as possigble by hand or by using a three pronged or stirrup or dutch hoe. (and there are others). I put the weeds into the compost pile, trench or other and then lay down my black and white newspaper.

Then, if I'm not planning on planting anything else there, I lay bark mulch over top of the paper. Works well.

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