No vegetable garden will ever be completely free from weed battel. They always act as trouble for the vegetable garden because they compete with vegetable crops for space, sunlight, water, and nutrients. They drain all the essential micro and macronutrients which result ultimately in low yield and quality of vegetables. To cope with the weeds many growers use herbicides which ultimately not only increase the cost of production but also affect human health and also harmful for the natural habitat of some beneficial organisms.
No need to worry here in this article some useful effective organic techniques that not only slow down the growth of the weed but also prevent them from overtaking the other vegetable plants. These techniques are inexpensive, safe to use, healthy for the surrounding environment and simple to use. One of the most common is installing a weed barrier in the vegetable garden.
Different Types of Physical Weed Barrier Use in The Vegetable Garden:
Protection is always better than cure so our first line of defense is to install a physical barrier in the vegetable garden. They stop the rearing of weeds heads. There are different types of weed barriers used in the vegetable garden. You can use any type of weed barrier both organic and inorganic weed barriers are effective for weed control.
The organic barrier for weeds in the vegetable garden:
It is a very effective way to control the weeds in your vegetable garden. Everything which came from living organism will eventually decompose into its component so it is a source to enrich your soil with the nutrients. The most common organic barriers are mulching, paper, newspaper, compost, wood chips, barks, straw, shredded leaves, and rocks.
Paper: I really couldn’t tell the distinction between plain brown paper and also the “landscape barrier” paper. I believe that any natural, uncolored biodegradable paper would work best as a physical barrier for weed in the vegetable garden.
Wood chips: These are perfect for landscape but not good for the vegetable garden because they are continuously disturbed by the vegetable cultivation practices.
Straw: For the vegetable garden, this kind of physical barrier is most effective but if we want to establish a vegetable garden through proper layout then it may be a bit out of place.
Newspaper: you can also use leftover newspaper as a weed barrier but make sure that the ink used for printing should be safe for soil and vegetable plants
Mulching: It is a great technique to control the excessive growth of weeds but also benefit the vegetable garden by retaining the moisture in the soil. Mulching retains the moisture in the root zone by lowering the temperature of the root zone so it is also economical.
Compost: compost is an organic matter which forms due to the decomposition of barks, straw, shredded leaves and peels of fruits and vegetables. They not only cover the soil but also provide shade to the weeds due to which weeds do not get proper sunlight and air for their growth.
Rocks: Rocks are an organic form of barrier because they formed naturally due to the deposition of minerals but only set back is they cannot decompose into mineral which later on causes the compactness of the soil.
The inorganic barrier for weeds in the vegetable garden:
The inorganic barrier for weed control in the vegetable includes black plastic and landscape cloth. They effectively control the growth of excessive weeds.
Black Plastic: The black plastic has the advantage of heating up the ground and burning the little suckers as a bonus. If you use the black plastic, you need to punch some holes all over it haphazardly so that water can seep through to the plants.
Landscape Cloth: It can be used for up to five years. It mainly uses subsurface of the soil. it’s not appropriate for surface-soil use, as a result of it gets torn and permits weeds to penetrate through it. It is also not biodegradable so you need to remove it before preparation of land.
Benefits of installing weed barrier in the vegetable garden
Here are the following benefits which we acquired by using the weed barrier in the vegetable garden.
- Discourages weeds: It stops daylight from reaching weed seeds, which reduces their growth.
- Cost-effective: some weed barriers last for years, therefore there is no need to obtain weed management chemicals each season.
- Environmentally-friendly: weed barriers limit the necessity of harsh weed management chemicals. Plus, some barriers are made up of recycled materials.
- Beats the competition: weed barrier has little holes that enable water to succeed in plant roots so weeds roots cannot get enough water to grow.
- Conserves moisture: Adding mulch weed barrier to the soil reduces surface evaporation, therefore less watering is required.
Disadvantages of Installing Weed Barrier in The Vegetable Garden
Organic weed barriers less affect the soil of the vegetable garden as compare to the inorganic weed barrier because they are biodegradable in nature.
The compactness of soil: It comes under the collective damage of using both types of weed barrier. In it after a while, the soil gets packed underneath stature loses breathability, and vegetable plant roots can suffer from lack of air and water.
Ground covers: Due to the weed barrier the condition for shady ground cover become more favorable and they spread widely but they are not as damaging as weed are.
The disadvantage of using inorganic weed barrier in the vegetable garden
- Not flexible: Each time you dig a hole to fix the fabric which becomes less effective. So, it’s not practical for the vegetable garden.
- No more natural nutrients: Organic mulches, like grass clippings or shredded leaves, can’t mix-up with the soil.
- Restricts movement of soil-mixing organisms: These weed barriers prevent earthworms, insects, and beneficial fungi from moving through different layers of the soil. So, they cannot mix organic material from the surface to the deeper of the soil.
- Not a perfect system: Plant roots in search of air and water can grow through the cloth, breaking the weed barrier.
I hope this article gives you a better understanding of different types of weed barrier with their advantages and disadvantages. Now, what are you waiting for installing these barriers according to your soil and vegetable garden type and get rid of the excessive weed battle?