I thought I’d share with you the method for creating a (somewhat) weed-free flower border that has made life so much easier for me (well, that part, anyway!) since I started it a number of years ago. And if I did it regularly when I’m supposed to, it would be even better- but, alas, life sometimes interrupts my garden time (drat).
And let me tell you, EVERYTHING was easier on my 50′ x 100′ city lot. Sometimes I wish for those manageable borders….
Then I look at my view and relish the quiet. And get back to work.
I’m starting by showing you a before picture of one side of the front border. I was determined not to have so much flower maintenance at this house- I wanted my time spent on food production- but I had to deal with what I’d inherited.
And my plant lust. But that’s another story.
Anyway, the front border is bisected with the path to the front door. This is the left side that has been weeded 2-3 times already this spring, but has not gotten the “treatment” after weeding. As you can see, the weeds just come back within DAYS, it’s quite frustrating.
Don’t mind the leaning tower of Dame’s Rocket – I haven’t cut it back yet, nor staked it, because, well, I don’t stake things. I’m awful that way. I should learn not to grow things that need staking.
This is the right side of the front border with the portion right of the “stone” path (actually recycled concrete chunks from our old driveway) having received the weed-free method. I might get a few little weeds on the edges (seen in the foreground), but they’re easy to dispatch.
I always use compost, not bark for our topping. It feeds the soil and, most importantly, I like how it looks. Nice and dark like fine soil – not all orange like bark.
Another portion of the front. This was done about 1-1/2 months ago and you can see they are very few weeds. Some may come up around the bases of plants (so much for “shadowing out the weeds”), and I just pull them as I’m out watering, etc. It’s never an hours-long job.
The back border before. I haven’t mulched this in a couple years, and it’s bad, really bad.
This is a part we just recently finished.
Please ignore the brown grass. I’m trying to keep it watered, really.
This is where we ran out of mulch. It will look much nicer when complete.
Curious or have you guessed what we do?
Weed once, lay a thick layer of newspaper (I use whole sections, unopened), cover it with the soaker hoses and 3-4 inches of mulch (again, I like compost) and you won’t have to weed again for the entire season. I kid you not- it really works! You can also use brown paper grocery bags or pieces of cardboard, too.
I started doing this (and no-till beds) after reading Lee Reich’s book, Weedless Gardening and I’d highly recommend it to everyone who doesn’t want to spend hours weeding only to turn around a few weeks later and have to do it all again.
If I did this every year like I’m supposed to, I wouldn’t even have the before pictures to show you. The weeds that are able to take root are less and less each year.
AND you’re feeding your soil and creating a layer to help keep moisture in at the same time.
This is a win-win situation!
Anyone else practicing this technique? I’d love to hear your weed-beating strategies…