I gave up gardening for a while because I hated to weed it! It was so time consuming and just no fun at all.
I have heard about using plastic as a weed guard, but hated the idea that I would be throwing so much plastic away at the end of each growing season. So I started using newspaper as the weed guard and putting hay (or straw) on top of it. Lay down one layer of newspaper, overlapping the edges, one small area at a time and sprinkle it on top, completely covering the paper.
I try to put the paper down as soon after tilling and planting as possible, before any weeds begin to grow. But sometimes time gets away from me, as you see in the picture above, and I did have some weeds begin to grow before I had a chance to get the paper down. So, I pulled out the weeds before I put the paper down for the best possible results.
Once all the paper and hay are down, wet it all down with a garden hose. It weighs it all down and keeps it in place. Also, using the paper and hay allows all the rain and hose water to soak right into the ground, giving your plants a good drink.
I took the second pic today, about two months after we put the paper and hay down, the squash plants are a lot bigger, and no weeds around them!! I enjoy going out to the garden, seeing all my growing and ripening veggies, without the dread of seeing the work needed in a garden overgrown with weeds.
At the end of the season, we pull the plants and rototill all the newspaper and hay into the soil for compost. Not only are you saving time not having to weed your garden, but you are recycling newspaper and composting your garden too. I like gardening again!