1. Till the soil 5 inches deep.
  2. Water soil well, soaking it to a depth of 6 to 12 inches.
  3. Cover the area tightly and completely with the plastic sheets, making sure that all the soil is well covered and there are no gaps.
  4. Tuck the edges of the plastic into the soil and weigh them down with rocks.
  5. Wai t. In hot climates, solarization can take as little as 3 weeks or up to 1 months. In cooler climates, leave the plastic cover on for at least 1 months.
  6. Inspect the cover frequently for holes. If any develop, patch them with tape.

To use the sun's heat to kill weeds and weed seed in a new garden, rake the bed smooth, water it well, and cover it tightly with clear plastic for up to 2 months during the summer.

  1. Remove plastic, and pull any remaining weeds from the bed,
  2. Plant your garden or take other measures to cover the soil to keep weed seeds from entering this weed-free zone.

(Tovering the Uglies

Mulching is probably the most common form of weed control— except for yanking! But while everybody does it, no two people seem to do it the same way. Gardeners show their creativity and resourcefulness by recycling all sorts of waste material as mulch. Most of it works to smother weeds, hold moisture, and even improve the soil. But a lot of these materials aren't especially attractive. If you use cardboard, newspaper, or old plastic bags as your mulching medium, you may merit a gold medal for recycling, but you won't win any garden beauty contests. Don t let that stop you from using these materials, though. It's easy to cover them up with more attractive mulch materials, from wood chips to shredded leaves.

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