I just want to say how much I love mulch. I’m actually not capable of saying much more than that, because I spent most of the afternoon laying it out, and now I’m completely kaput.
This system might not work for everyone; it’s most suited for raised beds that are intensively cultivated. It works great for me. It’ll keep the wilderness at bay while I’m in Germany, and it conserves water, too.
First I put down a couple of layers of newspaper around the plants. This is a fussy job but it results in a great weed barrier. Then my husband and I snake the soaker hose around the bed, using metal garden staples to anchor it. Here are the first two steps, viewed through the chard cage:
The gaps between the newpapers are deliberate, here, because I’ve got some microsopic chard seedling that need to grow. (The basil is in the cage too because that’s just how it worked out.) Elsewhere, I overlap the newspaper sections, sometimes tearing or cutting a notch to go around a plant.
Then we cage the tomatoes. Today that was another two-person job because they’ve grown big. Finally I add a layer of straw, which conceals the newspapers and keeps them from blowing away. The straw also helps with moisture retention.
My summer squash will probably be taken down by squash vine borers before I get back from Germany, but it will die in style. You also see more basil and some pepper plants, as well as potato-leafed tomatoes in the background.
These are more peppers and my purple pole beans.
It’s a buttload of work upfront, but I won’t have to weed this bed for the rest of the season.
And here’s the payoff: blossoms, promising I can has Sungolds.
Now I’m off to watch the start of the fourth season of Weeds, which just came out on DVD.