If you have not had time to visit your garden and survey it, we highly recommend you do so. You may not have planted any crops yet, but there are weeds actively growing and thriving in your plot.
One of the best ways to protect your soil is to keep it covered. Another way, among others, to protect your soil is to limit weed growth.
Weeds use up nutrients in your soil.
Weeds harbor pests and diseases.
Once weeds get established, their root systems hold onto soil. This soil is removed from your garden when you pull the weeds—more weeds=more soil loss.
Many weeds are actively growing underground. Disrupting their lifecycle early in the season can slow their growth.
If weeds are allowed to mature, they may reproduce and spread their seeds or runners.
The takehome is to cover your soil, so weeds do not get a stronghold OR remove the weeds currently growing. THEN cover your soil until you are ready to plant.
This weed is purple dead nettle and grows a mesh-like root structure that clings onto large volumes of soil.
This is weed is known by many names, shot weed, bittercress, wild cress, shot-in-the-eye weed, and more. When the seed heads mature they "shoot" their hundreds of seeds when they are touched.
This is the top growth on a patch of quack grass. The top growth is deceiving as there is an extensive network of roots growing underground. See next photo.
This photo shows the root system from the same patch of quack grass. To eliminate this weed from your garden follow the root as far as you can before it breaks. Vigilant weeding is the only way to rid this grass from your plot.
A good tip: When the weather is good, it is time to weed. When the weather is cloudy or rainy, it is time to plant.