You will know me by the trail of dead weeds

This year I think I’ve finally settled on a row configuration for the garden. What this means is that I will hopefully not be tilling up an entire 30 foot by 30 foot (900 sqft!!!) in the spring next year. Instead, I will just be tilling each row. Additionally, this means that my paths are set and I’m willing to try something more effective for weed control. Currently, I’m pretty good at getting out there and weeding the paths every two weeks but then inevitably it gets hot and I just give up. I plan on trying at least 3 methods and reporting back on what works best. 

Method One – Cardboard covered with wheat straw

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First step is to dig up all the weeds.

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Now you can see a distinction between veggies and path.

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Lay down cardboard. I used thick, non-coated cardboard that was mostly free from tape or printed markings (just in case).

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Cover with wheat straw. I got a kind that is supposed to be seedless but we’ll see. I wanted to try pine straw but no luck. I sprayed this down with water to make sure it didn’t blow away.

The installation of this method was fairly simple. Laying down cardboard was laughably easy, the straw wasn’t too heavy to carry on my own (didn’t need a wheelbarrow), it fit in my car (albeit messily), and it cost about $6 (cardboard was free).  Theoretically if I change my mind, this method has the added benefit that I can till the cardboard and hay back into the ground.  The only downsides are that once the bale of hay was cut open it kind goes any/every where and there is probably hay in my car for the foreseeable future. I plan on using this on a few more rows  though so maybe I’ll get better at not making a mess. 

Check back for other methods and a wrap up of how well each method works. If you have a favorite method, give me the details and I’ll try to work it into my garden. 

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