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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone. I'm FINALLY getting back to the garden, after planting a few spring crops, setting my automatic watering timer, and then proceeding on to the goats and their electric fence. Well, the electric fence is having issues, the goats got out last week and ate EVERYTHING, and I'm inundated with acres of weeds around my raised beds.

This weekend my goal is to re-claim the garden!

I tried hoeing at the weeds, but apparently you're supposed to do that before they're taller than you, and my hoe opposed me by breaking! Then, out came the shovel, and I actually had an easier time hacking at the weeds with that, until I hacked at a big rock, and my wrist made an unpleasant sound.

SO - I I just trampled down what weeds were left in my first workzone, and laid out the landscaping cloth along the narrow walkways, and the heavy black plastic on the side open to the pasture. I LOVE those big push-pins that you secure the cloth / plastic with!! Zone 1 is almost all covered, just have the little path between the two beds to do (but I have to go to town first).

My question is - should I just leave the cloth as the only thing there, or should I put some type of *mulch* over it to walk on? The directions on the roll of landscape fabric said to put mulch over it.

I was thinking woodchips or straw or something? I don't want rocks or anything that would have to be removed later if someone wanted to change the use of the area, or add more raised beds or something.

I would LOVE some suggestions! Low-cost is always good, but at this point, if I have to throw some money at it to get it under control, I will! I have dozens of seedlings that MUST go out this weekend, and I can't even get to the beds in Zones 2 & 3 yet!! With all the other animals, I don't have time to keep up with weeding AROUND the raised beds!

Thanks so much!

Tracey Mouse
aspiring farmer / gardener

ZONE 1




ZONES 2 & 3



 

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If you put too much mulch down then eventually the weeds will take hold in the mulch and grown through the landscape fabric.

We use hay between the rows to help keep the weeds down but they still take over. It just takes longer. The best thing we ever did was space out our rows so that there is more than enough room to run a push mower between them. I set the wheels at the lowest setting and mow between the row.

Also, since the raised beds will protect your crops, you can use Round-Up or some other weed killer between your rows. That would not be very cost effective in our 1/4 acre garden.
 

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You sure have some nice garden beds.If it was me and I could'nt chop the weeds, I would use, rent, borrow, buy a weed eater and gettum beat down to the soil, then spray with round-up or vinegar your choice and then lay on the wood chips and keep that vinegar spray handy. Thats my two cents. :)
 

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We use newspaper, covered with leaves, weeds, grass, hay, etc. Just keep adding layers, and it finally composts and gets spread on the beds, to be replaced by a new layering of newspaper, leaves, etc., etc.
 

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was to just leave the landscape fabric without a covering. Adding mulch just raises the price. The fabric will last a couple of years- when it starts to deteriorate - I will just put down more fabric on top. Next time, I will use the greenhouse fabric - that nurseries use under their large pots in their houses. That seems much heavier.

As a note: I didn't clear out the grass from under my fabric and it will still grow. As it grows, it raises up the fabric from where I tucked it under my beds to secure it down. I would kill the stuff before putting down the fabric next time.

Your garden looks great! Even with the weeds!
 

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Around here folks aren't much into raised beds and mulching. They keep their weeds under control by running a roto-tiller between the rows.

If you have access to a roto-tiller, or have a friend with one, maybe you could run it up and down the spaces between your beds. Then wait for the weeds to germinate and run it through again. If there's room between the beds.

I agree, your garden looks good even with the weeds all around.
 

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Nice raised beds!

I mulched my paths with grass clippings this year. They're free, and if I need a little mulch for the veggies I have it right there. Also, you could rake it off the landscape fabric at the end of the year and compost it, if you don't want to accumulate to much (chuckhole is right, weeds will eventually grow right in the mulch, but they will be easier to pull out at least!).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wow - thank you guys for all the tips. And thanks for the compliments on the garden! I was just feeling so guilty this week for how I've let it go so badly. I realize now, acutely realize!, how much EASIER it would have been to have done this stuff in the late winter or early spring, before all these weeds went crazy!

Oh, and all those pretty little plants you see in the first picture, those are just the remains that the goats left me! It was brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, but now it's just rabbit and chicken treats, LOL!

But that's okay, I've got plenty of transplants to go in, and will be putting in more seeds. I'm slowly figuring things out. It's a good thing we don't have to survive totally off my garden next winter, or we would starve for sure! Next year I will do better, I swear!

We jumped into everything at once this year, with the new place (70 acre ranch), and all the animals (10 goats, 8 rabbits, 100 chickens [or was it 125?], dogs, cats, greenhouse, garden). I've done nothing WELL, but I've learned SOOOOOOO much, and less plants and animals have died than I expected, LOL! Some people (the SMART ones!) take on one new thing at a time, and get it figured out before they go on to something else. After spending the last 3 years in Reno for my hubby's job, we were SICK of waiting to live REAL life again, and we decided just to jump in and go for broke (which we are now, LOL). So, hopefully my learning curve will even out in about 3-5 years with the smart people who took it one thing at a time!

Thanks again for the nice comments. They've really cheered me up! I will send more pictures after I get it done and respectable looking! You guys all rock!

Tracey Mouse
 

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If you have a weed wacker - get the weeds down as much as you can with that . Then go get free cardbaord boxes and flatten them and lay them down on top . Cardboard works well for this and lasts a long time .
Also spoiled hay . I used that this year . When the weeds start to appear I lay another layer down . Lots of farmers have bales of spoiled hay laying around just waiting for you for the asking. Happy gardening.
 

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We mulch between our garden beds with leaves. Very few weeds after a couple of years. I am making flower beds in my back yard with several layers of newspapers over the lawn grass, then rotten straw on that from a local farmer (all free, we got the newspaper from my MIL).
 

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I would use the type of mulch that breaks down slow, and since mulch is valuable in and of itself, I would use what you wouldn't want to put in your garden. Sooo, that leaves brush clearings that have been run through a chipper. It breaks down slow, and because it is a carbon, mostly, it seams like the weeds have a much harder time germinating. You would be putting it on landsacpe fabric, so that makes it even better at keeping weeds down.

Covering the fabric will help it last much longer, and will make it more hospitable to you feet after rains!

You can usually get it free if you know someone that clears brush occasionally or proffesionally. Seams like sometimes people will even pay to have stuff like that hauled off. Barring that, it doesn't cost much to rent a real nice chipper that will make FAST work of any pile you have.

I recently had access to a 2 truckloads of the stuff, but I didn't have my beds made yet so I passed it up. I'm still kicking myself!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the ideas! I've got 2 "zones" of my landscape fabric laid down now, and one left to do (the worst one there on the far end - wish me luck, LOL!).

After I get the landscape fabric down, I'll move on to getting the plants in, and my vertical frames up, then on to brush hogging the rest of the pasture (have to borrow someone's brush hog to do that).

Once all that's done, then I'm going to make some edging for the garden area with old tires (got that TireCraft video and LOVE it!), and put newspapers down on top of the fabric / plastic, then straw on top of that. (Or wood chips if hubby decides to change it - he was torn last night over looks vs. cheap!)

I'll post more pictures as I get things done.

After that's all done, I have to tackle the interior of the greenhouse, which looks like the freaking amazon in there, LOL! Want it ready for some fall/winter plantings!

Thanks again everyone for your help! It's so awesome to know I can come here and get some good advice!

Tracey Mouse
 
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