I've made a few mistakes with our monster garden this season and I'm looking fix them before my garden is a total loss.
The spot we picked out was part of our cow pasture as recently as end of April. Early May we had it tractored and tilled up and started planting. It's been a huge chore pulling weeds and grass and while the squash and peas are keeping the weeds down some, we are still up to our eyeballs around the tomatoes and in the area between the rows.
I refuse to use chemicals and now I'm at a point where there are a couple spots we didn't get planted and I want to reclaim that for more veggies. The weeds are too tall to till or hand pull and I've tried the scythe, grass whip, weed eater and tiller ... But it's more than I can do.
I guess I'm needing ideas on how to get these weeds and grass up and gone so I can utilize the rest of the growing season and them start over and do it right for next year.
if it were me I would focus on weeding the grass out of the areas where crops did get planted to ensure at least some production.
If the unplanted area is not workable with a weed eater, scythe, or tiller, than it sounds like to big of an area to sheet mulch as well. You could cover the grass areas with cardboard or plastic to kill them and make removal easier. Or maybe you could cut it short and seed a cover crop for the winter.
That's a nice piece of equipment and I'm sure he could do your garden in a matter of minutes. But you probably don't have access to one (or you wouldn't be asking here), and so now it's a matter of how can you roll something through your garden that will smash all the weeds and break their stems? How big an area do you have to do? Is it worth renting a bobcat with a suitable attachment on it?
Management depends on which weeds are causing you the trouble.
As a general solution, you can gather as much organic material as you can, especially straw or wood chips, soak the ground well and dump the mulch thickly on top. For extra coverage, a layer or three of cardboard under the straw helps. For a positive attitude in the face of weeds and other garden woes I recommend the writings of Masanobu Fukuoka and ruth stout.
I agree with Zach. Otherwise you take a hoe for weeds. But the area not planted should not be bare soil weeds are better than nothing. Either you leave it and tackle it when you really want to plant or you hoe it and plant a cover crop or you put cardboard and mulch (aren't woodchips free in the US?) down.
Smother it as best you can with mulch if you have it. Like Matu said, cardboard works very well with some straw or chips on top. You could also chop it low and then run chickens on it, if you have them.
In my garden I mulch like hell. Any weeds that make it through are pulled or chopped and fed to pigs or chickens. At the end of the season I let the chickens at it to finish the cleanup.
If it's too much to keep up with all of it, focus of the most productive areas and then come back to the tough spots later. It's frustrating for the first few years, but it'll come along. Persistence (and chickens)