A weed is any plant growing where you do not want it to. Some weeds are less desirable than others; some may even become an accepted as part of your garden or lawn in time. The main trouble with weeds is that they compete with your desired plants for nutrients, water, air and light. If you have too many weeds you will end up with weaker plants. In a vegetable garden this will result in less produce of a lesser quality than you would have without the weeds. Besides, in a garden setting, weeds tend to just look bad. Here are some steps you can take before you plant to reduce the weed population, and make it easier for your latter efforts in the weed war.
Plan for easy weeding. This is a simple thing you can do to make any weeding you might have to do post planting a little easier. Simple leave enough room between rows to make moving around to weed easier. This spacing will also be helpful come harvest time, allowing you better access to your plants and their produce.
Solarize your soil. This simply means letting the power of the sun kill the weeds for you. This technique works the best in midsummer. The only down sides are that the process is time consuming and will kill all living organisms in your soil, not just the weeds.
Step One: Prepare your garden bed for planting, or cut any existing weeds down to the ground. Water the garden bed well.
Step Two: Dig a trench around the garden bed that is six to twelve inches deep.
Step Three: Cover your entire garden bed with a thick clear plastic, four millimeters should do it, and place the edges of the plastic in the trenches. Fill the trenches with soil, covering the plastic edges. Then you wait.
The temperature gets so hot underneath the clear plastic that it will kill insects, weeds, disease organisms and anything else trapped in your garden bed. It takes a few months of solarization to get the full effect.
Lay down black plastic over your garden. When you are ready to plant your garden, plant through the plastic, making holes only where necessary to plant your vegetables. Make sure that you completely secure the plastic edges like you did with the clear plastic in solarization.
Now you have laid the groundwork for a healthy garden with fewer weeds. Continued care will still be required through harvest time, but these preparations should make that care easier to handle.