Veggie garden step 1

As you may know, my veggie garden is a small fenced-in area that usually gets a lot of attention from me early in the year, but then by the end of summer it's a neglected, weedy mess. Last year I built some raised beds to help organize things better (and provide better soil), but that didn't exactly work either.

The walkways between the beds became overgrown with weeds, and I'm not sure exactly how or when. I was pretty good with the hoe out here at first, but I think during the hottest part of the summer my will to weed wavered and I let them take hold. Taking advantage of the mild winter weather while it's here, I spent a few minutes the other day to help with this problem.


The various paper products shown above will help me in my efforts. Here's the problem I'm talking about:

Just terrible. Something needs to be done, and to me the solution is obvious: mulch!

I completely forgot that there were steppers under this mess!

First though I'll put down the cardboard and paper scraps:

Normally I'd recycle those, but they'll help to smother and suppress the unwanted plants here. Mulch alone may not be enough to keep the weeds from sprouting through.

On top of that goes the mulch, which I got from the community mulch pile:

Free mulch -- I love it! It's a mixture of chippings/shreddings of every type of tree, shrub, and plant growing in the area so it's not the most attractive or durable (a hardwood mulch would be better), but it's perfect for this use.

The smaller walkways were next:

If you're wondering about the plants, that's kale on the left,
parsley in the center, and my huge beet at the upper right edge.

It makes such a big difference!

Some of the walkways between the fence and beds didn't get mulched for two reasons: first, there are some plants I want to keep still growing in some of them: wayward kale and my bronze fennel for instance. Second, I'm planning on moving one side of the fence this year (making the fenced-in area a bit smaller), so the walkway on that side will end up outside the fence -- no reason to mulch there now then. I'll wait until the fence work is finished.

I have two more big tasks to tackle before this garden is ready for spring planting (rebuild the fence and reconfigure the raised beds), but it's good to get the first step out of the way.

Especially since it didn't cost me a cent.


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Liz  – (January 12, 2012 at 7:06 AM)  

I've done the same method and killed off thick lawn. I love the price factor.

Marie at the Lazy W  – (January 12, 2012 at 9:02 AM)  

LOL! My "will to weed wavers" too! Gorgeous pathways now. Congrats o getting a head start! We're building raised beds this year and I've been adding manure & compost gradually. Really excited to get to the point you're already at! Happy Gardening!

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (January 12, 2012 at 10:44 AM)  

I love mulch!! I think it instantly improves the look of just about anything. To me, even a pile of mulch all by itself is beautiful. Great idea reusing that cardboard.

Ben J  – (January 12, 2012 at 4:53 PM)  

Cardboard works really well to keep weeds back. This summer I used cardboard with mulch on top to smother some nasty creeping charlie.

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