Home gardeners look forward to that first ripe tomato or ear of corn they pick from their carefully tended gardens. But after some vigorous gardening on a hot, humid day, you may wonder if it is all worth it. Dr. John Strang, University of Kentucky Extension Horticulture Specialist offers some tips for gardeners.

Weeds compete with crops for water, nutrients and sunlight. Some weeds, like quackgrass, can chemically inhibit vegetable plant growth. Others host insect pests and disease pathogens. All of these result in fewer fresh vegetables for your table.

There are some preventive practices that effectively combat weeds.

Frequent hoeing or rototilling on a weekly basis helps eliminate weeds when they are small and easily removed.

If you plant rows a little closer, vegetable crops provide more shade and that also helps to reduce weed pressure. After you harvest a crop, plant another in its place to continue using the space.

Mulching works very well in the home garden. Use organic material such as…