When I first moved to a new state, the house did not have a prepared area for me to plant a vegetable garden, so I started from scratch. Last year’s growing season failed, but I learned a few good lessons from that attempt.
Get Rid of Grass Early
The first year, we tilled up the grass and soil for my new vegetable garden. I planted many seeds and a few plants. Within a short time, the grass grew back and choked out most of the seedlings. To alleviate that problem this year, I broke down some cardboard boxes and placed them overlapping across the area several months before planting. I covered this with large sheets of plastic and used rocks to hold the plastic in place. This helped to kill off the grass, even down to the roots in most places.
Weed Often or Use Protective Barriers
Weed-blocking fabrics or mulch are great to keep weeds at bay. However, I’m cheap and I actually like to work the soil with my hands. Last year, I did not take the time to weed enough, which allowed the grass to regain control. This year, I take the time every few days to sit down and thoroughly weed my gardens with the help of a hand rake. I use fist-sized rocks as a border to help reduce grass encroachment and as a guide when trimming around the gardens.
Marking Planting Spots or Rows
Instead of buying plants, I began starting my vegetables from seeds in an effort to be cheap, I mean, to save money. While I started some early indoors, others I planted directly in the garden. Last year, I couldn’t tell the difference with all of the grass and weeds. This year, I placed markers at the end of each full row I planted from seed as well as toothpicks right next to individual spaces. This was very helpful to identify the difference between plants and weeds.
Choose Vegetables Carefully
Plant only vegetables that you will use, especially if you have limited space. This year, I planted a few items I wanted, but we don’t use very often. These were large plants that take up a lot of space that could have been used for foods we eat regularly and that are expensive at the store. Next year, I will plant more of what we actually use, as well as choices that produce all season rather than just produce a one-time harvest. I like to get my seeds from Seedsnow.com because I am able to find the varieties I want in smaller, sample packets.