One of the worst parts of gardening is weeding! And this being our 13th year as gardeners we’ve tried everything to simplify and minimize the garden weeding.
We transitioned to raised garden beds early on, I think it’s been about 10 years now.. we’ll never-ever go back to a traditional in the ground garden.. too much needless, back breaking, work! I wanted a garden that not only was super functional, but also looked like a beautiful part of our landscape.
And along our gardening journey we learned the most amazing way to keep you garden beautifully weed free while recycling and composting at the very same time!!! Did I mention it’s FREE too??
Yes, it really is that simple! Lay down old newspapers around your plants and cover with a generous layer of grass clippings from your yard!! The newspaper/grass clippings will let water through to your plants’ roots (unlike plastic weed block) and it will break down (ie compost) into the soil for next year!! Mulching naturally supresses weed growth and helps to keep the moisture in the soil!
You can take it a step further!! We lay soaker hose UNDER our newspaper/mulch – that way we can water directly into the ground and not waste water!!
One final tip.. use milk jugs with the bottoms cut out and the lids removed as individual mini green houses to help extend your growing season!! These have been an amazing help in getting our spring plants in early, keeping them warm enough to withstand a late season frost (we live in Pennsylvania) For especially tender plants, during the chance of really cold weather… pile up extra grass clippings over your milk jug-greenhouses at night for extra insulation!! (recently we had super low 29 degrees the other night, the plants we used milk jug-greenhouses w/grass clipping insulation survived perfectly – the couple plants we just used buckets on top of frozen!)
In the top picture, you’ll notice that we do use wood chip mulch (with durable fabric weed block underneath) between the raised beds.. the weed block lasts for many-many years and our wood chips come from a local lumber company, they grind up the scraps into a hardwood mulch – no dyes, no chemicals, all natural… and it’s affordable (enough mulch to do our entire garden between the raised beds is only about $150 every few years.)
Along the edges we do get a few weeds, but a spray with my Homemade Non-Toxic Weed Kille (Click HERE for more info) on a sunny day kills them quickly!