I've spent every spare minute the past few years weeding the garden. About 3 years ago, I got the brilliant idea of spreading straw down to prevent weed growth. Well, I had no idea you were supposed to get "special" straw that had been treated or something. Therefore, I had a beautiful garden full of grasses growing and strangling my veggies. And I've been battling it since.
With help from my husband, I planted my gorgeous tomato plants (31 in all), sweet peppers (12), and hot peppers (6). Normally, I get overly ambitious and creative, which was really fun when I actually had time to devote to it. Now that free time is something I feel I'm much lacking, I took a deep breath and resolved to be simple. In the past, I've grown everything - radishes, cucumbers, cantaloupes, watermelon, pumpkins, zucchini, peppers, onions, garlic, and tomatoes. This year I went basic with just tomatoes and peppers.
|Hot pepper plants|
After planting, lay newspaper down everywhere. Make sure to have the hose on and ready nearby to spray the papers as you lay them down. If not, you'll be yelling loudly enough to disturb the neighbor's dogs as you chase the sports section all over the yard, trying not to trip on the rails of the garden or trample plants. Trust me, I know.
Use the regular printed papers, not the glossy ones. Newspapers are now printed with vegetable-based ink so you won't be contaminating your pure soil with lead ink or anything.
|Wet the newspapers as you lay them|
I bought some organic wood mulch at Lowe's. Lucky for me, it's the cheap mulch (less than $3 a bag), I guess because it breaks down so quickly and isn't treated with dyes or preservatives. It's literally just shredded Cyprus. I spread it to about a 1-2" thick layer.
|Mulch laying in process|
|Mulched beds done|
- Till the garden, pulling any weeds
- Plant your lovely fruit and veggies
- Lay newspaper down everywhere, wetting as you go
- Cover in mulch - 1-2" layer
- Cross your fingers this works
I seriously need this to work. I imagine just pulling a few random weeds here and there, perhaps between the pavers or along the outside where the newspaper couldn't reach all the way. In my fantasy, this garden looks exactly the same as it does in these photos, except with big bountiful, gorgeous plants, bursting with fruits and vegetables. And I laugh in the face of weeds seeking to choke my lovely plants. Muah-ah-ah!!