How to Get Rid of Grass and Weeds in Vegetable Garden

Last Updated on April 18, 2022 by Grow with Bovees

Lush grass is a welcome addition to most gardens, but sometimes may cause more harm than good, especially when it grows uninvited in your vegetable garden. But before revealing the tips on how to get rid of grass in vegetable gardens, it is highly important to understand the key reasons why you should eliminate grass in your vegetable garden.

Why is it Important to Kill Grass in Your Vegetable Garden?

There are several reasons to eradicate grass, most notably the accelerated rate at which grass can invade your veggie garden.

Even if the grass is healthy, such as Ryegrass, it will soak up essential nutrients such as fertilizer, soil, and water that is meant for healthy vegetable growth.

But what’s worse is that with grass comes the onset of pesky weeds such as crabgrass, and nutgrass, which further steal nutrients from the healthy grass and vegetables growing in your garden.

Killing grass where it doesn’t belong is quite a mission if it starts to take over, but once you get on top of the job, killing grass is not that big of a job.

How to Get Rid of Weeds in Vegetable Garden

Lawn weeds not only look hideous, but suffocate vegetable plants as well, and are tougher to control, and get rid of. Furthermore, weeds are also a safe haven for disease and pests, which can spread easily, giving you yet another big reason to control the spread of the nuisance plants.

Can I Use Herbicides to Kill The Weeds in My Vegetable Garden?

Sure you can, and there are many chemical solutions available to get rid of weeds in the vegetable garden, but it is a risky business, and here’s why!

The first thing to think about before going out to spray herbicides on your vegetable patch is that the chemicals they contain will be soaked up by the vegetables, which can make them unsuitable for consumption.

But all herbicides aren’t the same, meaning there are organic herbicides, some that only kill selective plants, and nonselective versions that kill any plants they come into contact with, but they still can’t deal with problematic weed seeds.

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If you have weeds growing in your vegetable garden, and you don’t want to use chemical herbicides, you can choose a natural citrus-based weed killer. Avenger Organic Weed Killer is a great choice in the organic post-emergent weed killer segment, effectively killing weeds, broadleaves, and grasses growing in your veggie patch, but not your vegetables.

Corn gluten is another organic solution to get rid of weeds in your veg garden. But it’s worth noting that corn gluten is an organic pre-emergent herbicide, so it won’t rid your garden of existing weeds.

Mulch With Compostable Material

A great way to discourage the growth of unwanted grass in your vegetable garden is by spreading a three to four-inch-thick layer of mulching materials around the vegetable plants.

The reason newspapers or cardboard work well for this, is that they block the sunlight, and can be piled on the ground along with grass clippings over the top to decompose into rich compost, a great way to make compost without tools.

This nutrient-rich compost is safe for composting in vegetable gardens, given that newspapers are printed with soy ink, hence have a vegetable base.

It is recommended that you harvest your vegetables first, and then use the newspaper weed control method to prevent the weed from cropping up next spring.

Start by spreading some newspaper about five to eight sheets thick in the affected area you’d like to be rid of the grass and weeds.

Next, place a layer of fallen leaves or grass clippings, then top it off with several sheets of newspaper, and moisten it with water. Come next spring, simply cut a hole with a trowel or suitable tool, through the newspaper, and plant your vegetables. The leaves, grass, and newspaper will break down, and transform into rich organic compost for your soil.

When spreading the mulch, be sure to keep the material two to three inches away from the stems of the vegetable plants. And a note on mulch, refrain from using sawdust as mulch, because the bacteria needed to break it down may steal nitrogen and other nutrients from your garden soil.

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Solar Sterilization

Another safe veggie garden weed control method, solar sterilization, is best done in the hottest summer months of July and August. Start by clearing the affected area of any weeds, by hand pulling them with their roots.

Next, place some dark plastic fabric over the area, (don’t use clear plastic for this), which will attract the sun’s rays, heat, and sterilize the soil below.

Install A Weed Barrier

If you are at the design stage of your vegetable garden career, then one thing you can do to minimize weed growth is to put down a layer of weed barrier fabric. This prevents the weeds from germinating in the soil below.

If you do use this method, you must be sure to deal with any small weed seeds that you find have germinated on top of the barrier, otherwise their roots will grow through the fabric and be hard to remove.

The best herbicide vegetable garden weed control methods you can apply in the fall for gardens include:

Preen Weed Killer

Designed to cover up to 2000 square feet (0.02 ha), Preen Weed Preventer is a pre-emergent weed killer and is safe to use for 200 established vegetables, shrubs, trees, and flowers.

Further, it is easy to apply, and can be applied anytime in the spring, summer, or fall.

How to Kill Unwanted Grass in Your Vegetable Garden

Grass seeds can blow all over the place and can be a pain in the grass when they reach your veggie patch. That said, here’s how to eliminate grass in your veg garden.

Cultivation Method

Billed as an effective and non-toxic method of grass control in vegetable gardens, tilling or cultivating the soil around the plants can be done a day or two before the pouring rain by pulling out the grass with your hands.

If you have a lot of grass growing in your vegetable garden, you may want to throw on a pair of gardening gloves, and grab a small seat. Now grab the grass by its roots, and twist and pull upwards to remove the grass.

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You can also use a stand-up weed puller for removing grass in a more comfortable position. But even though the tines of the tool will loosen and turn the soil, it may sometimes leave the roots behind, so you will have to pull the remaining parts by hand.

Pro Tip

If you’re using any gardening tools for the task, and the grass you’d like to get rid of is located fairly close to the vegetables, your best bet is to use your bare hands to pull them out to avoid damaging your vegetables.

Spray Weeds With Vinegar

Vinegar can be an effective way to kill grass and weeds depending on how concentrated it is. Regular kitchen vinegar contains approximately 5 percent acetic acid, which isn’t enough to kill grass. You will need vinegar in concentrations between 20 percent and 30 percent such as the industrial-grade vinegar concentrate.

Final Thoughts:

If you have a vegetable garden riddled with grass, or you’re thinking of turning an area of your lawn into a vegetable garden, the first important thing to do is eliminate the unwanted grass.

There are different routes you can take to accomplish this, where some methods require a significant amount of effort, while others are less labor-intensive. The labor-intensive methods are oftentimes a sure short solution to getting rid of grass and weed from vegetable gardens and entail pulling out the weed and grass by hands. Using a small rototiller for this task is a good example of the power of the mechanical advantage.

If you’re having trouble bending or sitting down to pull the grass, you can use a standup weed removal tool, but this may at times leave partial pieces of the grass back in the soil, so you will have to eventually get the parts out by hand.

There are also several different herbicides you can use to get rid of grass from the vegetable garden, but these are chemical-based products, so may cause more damage to your vegetables and garden.