Mulching is especially helpful for controlling weeds in the garden. Organic mulches include peat, wood shavings, sawdust, straw, hay, ground corn cobs, leaves, compost and lawn clippings. Apply about 4 to 6 inches of mulch to exclude light from weed seedlings. Make sure organic mulches are free of weed seeds and herbicide residues that can injure vegetables.
Inorganic mulches include plastic film and aluminum foil. Black plastic mulch is most effective for controlling weeds—weeds will not grow beneath it as they will under clear plastic. Cover the edges of plastic mulches with soil to keep in place, and remove inorganic mulches at the end of the season, because they do not decompose.
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