Keep That Veggie Garden Full!

20170714A.gifI hope that, by now, you are already reaping delicious fresh vegetables from your garden… but, as you harvest them, don’t forget that it’s never wise to leave empty spaces in a vegetable garden. An empty spot is an open invitation to weeds, as if you were saying, “Come set up shop here, there’s no competition!”

Of course, often slower growing vegetables will lend you a helping hand, covering the space with their ever-expanding foliage. For example, by lettuce harvest time, nearby plants of kale or cabbage may already be crowding out your lettuce, so when you pull it, their big leaves quickly cover the soil. Perfect! You won’t have to do anything.

Otherwise, you can sow a second crop of fast maturating vegetables and herbs: lettuce, spinach, bok choy, beets, cilantro, dill, etc. (This is called succession planting.) They’ll quickly cover the soil and shade any intruders out.

If you don’t want to fill in the blanks with plants, at least cover the soil with a thick mulch (at least 4 inches/10 cm)  to prevent unwanted plants from germinating.

It’s much easier to prevent weeds in your garden then to try and get them out after the fact.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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