Requesting Details on Mulching Veggie Garden w/ paper & leaves
I have a 10' x 20' garden to which I added 800 lbs of manure compost and mushroom compost last fall. I've planted a variety of vegetables this spring which are now doing well, but I have lots of weeds. I've read quite a few posts regarding mulching a vegetable garden, and have decided to go the paper + leaf route since I have access to free cardboard, newspaper, and leaves (in the fall). I'm trying to determine exactly when and how to proceed.
At some time, I suppose I should lay down newspaper or cardboard and then an 8" layer of leaves on top. Which is better -- newspaper or cardboard? And, when exactly should this be done? At this time, it doesn't seem practical to place cardboard or newspaper in my garden since it would take a lot of time to 'fit' the paper around my existing plants. Plus, I don't currently have any leaves.
So, do I wait until fall to do this after my plants have died? Or, do I do it next spring prior to planting? By the way, I live in the Chicago area so the ground freezes during the winter. Do I till the soil prior to putting down paper and leaves? And, is there a special method to planting after the paper and leaves are down? If I use cardboard, will I need to cut through it wherever I have plants? How do I build up mounds or rows if there is a layer of cardboard everywhere?
Maybe I'm over-thinking this, but I don't want to end up with a big mess on my hands that will make things worse. Thanks in advance for any advice.