With all the rain here lately it has meant that our seedlings and transplants took a bit longer to get outside. That was okay with us because my husband couldn’t build my raised bed until this past week either. Since we have a smaller, open yard now we decided to grow food in a couple raised beds (building them ourselves) and in pots and planters on our backyard deck. We will be growing heirloom varieties of tomato, peppers, sugar snap peas, snow peas, lettuce greens, and carrots. Yum!
The single most frustrating part of gardening for me has always been weeding. It takes only days for weeds to take root and make the garden unsightly as well as less healthy, since the weeds hog all the water. When we lived in Phoenix that black weed plastic was commonly used. You don’t see gardens that often there but weeds will ruin rock landscaping just as well as they ruin gardens. My parents used that black plastic frequently to try and curb the weeds.
Now of course I would never dream of using all that plastic for environmental reasons but I wasn’t all that familiar with eco friendlier options either. Dupont contacted me to offer me some of their Garden O.N.E® Weed Control Fabric and I was excited to give it a try. The fabric is similar in form and function to the infamous black plastic but this product is made of wood fiber and it is chemical free. Oh and it is biodegradeable as well. This is important because the plastic stuff always ripped eventually and had to be replaced to so if you will have to do touch ups anyway, why not use planet friendly materials? Both product types will do the job and prevent weeds but one will contribute to the health of the plants you want and one will not.
So…. we put two overlapping layers of the weed control fabric down so that we covered the bottom of the raised bed entirely and we let some hang out on all sides to keep weeds from growing along the side walls as well. Then we put a layer of stones on top of it for drainage. Next came the dirt… organic soil, organic peat moss, and our own homegrown compost made in our Worm Factory.
We have since moved over some seedlings we had into the bed and we still have some more to plant. We toyed with the idea of laying the fabric down on the very top and cutting holes for the plants but decided that was a bit too much work. We may still use strips of the fabric between rows and weight it down with rocks. We will see how much space is left. I am thinking we will use at least some on top though because the fabric will also help hold moisture in which can be important when it gets really hot.
Now we have a few more things to plant, a mesh fence or a lattice to put up along the back of our deck for the peas to climb on and we have a second, smaller bed we are constructing for my daughter… who wants to grow rainbow chard. That bed is even closer to the ground so the weed control fabric will be needed even more for that one.
If we someday end up back in Arizona and have a rock garden again instead of a real one I know exactly what we will using… weed control fabric! There is no greater pain in the butt than pulling weeds in 100 degree weather.
A winner has been selected at random to win the Gift card to Lowe’s. Congrats to Brit (the winner) and thanks everyone for your comments!!
Friday, June 3rd, 2011