The reason I started using Preen in the first place is because I had a very bad experience with weeds taking over my vegetable garden one spring, and I've been using Preen ever since... I don't want that to ever happen again.
After doing some research and reading other garden blogs, I decided that making the switch to organic weed control doesn't sound as scary and I first thought. It seems there are many different types of organic mulches you can use on your garden.
|Straw in my vegetable garden|
Every year as a decoration for Halloween, I buy a straw bale for my front porch.
I used to throw it in the yard waste bin when I was done with it.
But this year, I threw it in the vegetable garden instead. Then after we tilled the garden this spring, I spread the straw over the top of my garden.
There are seed heads in the straw (which I never thought about until they started growing), but so far, it hasn't been a big problem. But I suppose any of the mulch options I mentioned could contain seeds.
|Straw in vegetable garden, a few things planted|
So I've been thinking about adding a layer of store bought mulch or arborvitae needles.
I'm leaning towards the arborvitae needles because they are free and readily available in my yard. The only concern I have for this is adding acidity to my vegetable garden. I don't know if a thin layer of arborvitae needles will have a great impact on the pH of the soil or not.
Another concern I have with using organic mulch rather than Preen is that I had to move the straw away from newly planted seedlings to give them space to grow. I am worried that this will invite weeds to overtake my seedlings and be a lot of work to keep in check. Other gardeners have stated that once the vegetable plants grow large, they will overtake the weeds. Let's hope this is the case.
I really like the look of the straw in my garden. An added bonus is that it outlines the rows of seedlings so my husband knows where it's safe to step. :-)
|Rows in straw after planting peppers|
I think this year will be ok, because by the time the Preen wears off, my vegetables will be large enough to inhibit the growth of any new weeds.
But in all honesty, I am worried about what next spring will bring.
There's one thing I know for sure... I will continue to use Preen in all of my gardens except my vegetable garden (for now). I have a full time job and there's no way I could dedicate enough time to go organic in all my gardens.
I also know that if weeds start to take over and become a chore again, I will switch back to using an organic version of Preen in my vegetable garden. I want gardening to continue to be fun, not a huge chore.
I would love to hear about what you use as organic mulch to keep the weeds down in your garden!