In the spring and early summer, kids need to pull the weeds in and around their organic raised bed garden as soon as they see them. Weeds rob the nearby fruits and veggies of water and nutrients. Often just having a raised garden bed, a foot or two above the ground, helps control weeds. After pulling the weeds from the garden, kids can use mulch to help suppress them. Hand weeding is the best way so as not to damage the soil structure. Kids can use a hand fork or trowel to dig out deep rooted weeds without damaging the roots of adjacent veggies.
All annual and some perennial weeds spread by seed. Kids need to remove the flower heads before they blow around the garden and set their seeds. Annual weeds have shallow root systems and are easy to pull. However, some weeds, like bindweed, are perennial and have deep root systems that are difficult to remove permanently and need constant vigilance. Kids can easily pull out the local bindweed root. Bindweed strangles other plants that it uses as support and spreads underground. Kids can pour boiling water on the deep root systems and plant marigolds, which is said to repel bindweed and aphids.
Weed barrier landscaping fabric is great to use around raised bed gardens, on the pathways, and adjacent areas and covered with mulch to suppress future weeds. Organic mulches, like fall leaves, straw, pine leaves, sawdust, and bark chips, are pleasing to the eye, good for the soil, and suppress the weeds. Kids can stop weeds growing on the pathways by mulching with cardboard, newspaper, or wood chips. Kids can also create garden paths with pavers, gravel, or natural stone.
A drip irrigation system keeps the water on the roots of the fruit and veggies instead of indiscriminately watering everything and encouraging weed growth. Kids can plant soil enriching cover crops, such as red clover, fava beans, daikon radish, and peas, to prevent weeds emerging and improve the soil. Kids can maintain their garden by adding lots of organic compost, by rotating their crops, and pulling weeds as soon as they appear. The best way kids can control weeds is by creating fertile organic soil and using organic gardening practices.