Monday, April 15, 2013

Garden Update: Waging a War on Weeds

For some reason, this spring seems to be a bad one for weeds. Normally, this is not a problem this early in the year here. I have weeded my cool season garden twice since I planted it! With all the deadlines I have for work right now, I don't have time to weed! 

What to do? Newspapers to the rescue! I mentioned this idea in another post a few weeks ago called What Do You Do With All Your Newspapers? In this post today, I will show you how I do it!

Start by cutting up the newspapers. I usually make mine about four inches wide. This way I can cut enough for the entire garden and put them anywhere regardless of the spacing between the plants. Here are some of the ones I cut up on Saturday.

Next, lay the papers down covering all the spacing between the vegetable rows. Don't let the papers touch the plants. I usually put at least two layers down.  Here is a before and after picture of my peas.

If you have even the slightest breeze, the papers will not stay where you put them. You can anchor them down with rocks if you would like, but I usually water mine in. That way I can take my time adding the mulch. (The mulch should still be added the same day as the newspapers - but the water will hold the paper down for a few hours as you work.) 

Then, add the mulch. We have a lot of termite problems in my neck of the woods so our mulch is all pine straw.

Although it is hard to see in this picture, the mulch is added very lightly. You only need enough to hold the newspapers down. It is fine to have the newspapers show through the mulch in spots .

When it is time to harvest the peas and turn the soil over for the summer crop, I will turn the newspapers into the soil and leave them there. The mulch can be removed and saved for the summer crops. (If you use organic mulch, you can turn the mulch over into the soil too, if you would like.)

I only got the peas and garlic covered on Saturday. I will need to carve a few extra hours out of this week to complete the rest!

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