Raised beds battling Crabgrass and weeds


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Looking for suggestions on how to handle some issues I have been having with my raised vegetable beds. This will be my third season of planting vegetables and I am trying to get it right. The first year we made some raised beds and put them in the area of our yard that gets the most sunlight. We had a ton of weeds and especially crabgrass coming up from underneath the beds. Needless to say we didnt have a very productive season.

Last year I put landscaper fabric under the beds and there were far fewer weeds and crabgrass (almost 0 in one bed) the problem was that the roots didnt have much room to grow down and were stopped at the fabric. Our carrots were tiny and only grew to the fabric and no further.

This year I pulled the fabric and plan on attacking the weeds and crabgrass aggressively. Here is my plan, please offer suggestions and advice!!
1. I pulled the landscaper fabric and added fresh compost to the soil.
2. The crabgrass is coming from the surrounding yard, growing underneath the boxes and then up through the dirt. I plan to kill all the grass around the box I can using vinegar or boiling water (which is better?).
3. What should I do to keep it from coming back? I have heard people line the outside edges of their boxes with gravel to keep crabgrass from growing under and up, has anyone tried this?
4. I plan to mulch the garden around my veggies. What color/kind of mulch should I use?
5. I would like to keep it organic.

Any suggestions for conquering this crabgrass would be greatly appreciated!!!
 
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I think the mulch will help a great deal. I use both straw and wood chips...Had some trees trimmed a couple of years ago and they chipped them all up for me. When I've bought mulch, I just get the non-dyed variety.
 

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