I hate weeding. I also hate weeds in the vegetable garden*. So, something's gotta give. The past couple of years, the weeds have won. Try as we might, we just can't keep up, and by July 4th I'm often rationalizing the state of our garden by saying that we're just camouflaging the vegetables from the herbivores. Nobody seems to buy it. So, this year, I decided to give mulching a try. I wasn't really sure what the best thing to do was - I wanted natural, but I also wanted effective, and I'm not convinced I could get both. Well, after very little research (which is unlike me), we ended up mulching with some salt marsh hay (actually, we went to our local nursery to get a sheet of black plastic, but they didn't have it and the guy suggested the salt hay. Since the salt hay is a lot more natural than plastic, his suggestion was pretty much all I needed)
First I did some preliminary weeding, hoping to set the little buggers back a bit. Then I laid some old newspaper down between the vegetable rows before placing a layer of the salt marsh hay down. The neighbors had a good laugh watching me try to get both the newspaper and the hay down while the wind gusted up every now and then. But in the end, I used up one of the two bales, pretty much covering the rows between our tomatoes and zucchini. Th onions and beans still seemed too small for me to be messing around them - if/when they get bigger, I'll add more hay - and I left the potatoes clear so I can "ridge" them.
I don't actually expect to beat the weeds. I'm just hoping to stave them off a little while. Hopefully, we don't end up with an abundance of weeds growing up through the hay.
* "weeds" in the lawn however are just fine - in fact, I'm pretty sure our neighborhood hates us since we're most certainly the source of 99.9% of the dandelions in our area. Our lawn is pretty much the exact opposite of uniform, green, and grassy. But it is alive with bees, snakes, frogs, and caterpillars - which is far more important.