Every spring, as I plant my garden, I surprise myself with how wonderful everything looks. I do the weeding from the previous year early on and when I’m finished with that, I plant the seeds. I usually grow tomatoes, kale, chard, beets, and various types of lettuce. After I plant, I sit back and wait. I also do a lot of watering. The first of June comes and goes and as the weeks transition from one to the next, I become more and more excited as I see each plant sprout from the dirt. The excitement stays with me until I watch in horror as the weeds grow as well. And those weeds do like to grow. Sometimes faster than the vegetable plants themselves. By the time July rolls around and after I’ve done a hint of weeding, I throw my hands in the air in disgust and walk away. I wonder to myself if this is what everyone is referring to when they tell others that they “do a lot of gardening.” Because to me, it generally turns into more of a weeding endeavor than anything else.
Every year though, no matter how many weeds decide to grow, I manage to get an enormous harvest, so things aren’t that bad. And to be honest, my heart is only half into the gardening thing anyway. I enjoy setting things up, such as buying the dirt, compost, and fertilizer and then planting the seeds, but beyond that, I’m not one to maintain things. I’m much more of an initiator. I like to say that there are people to maintain things. I’m not one of them.
Last year some time, I saw some sort of fabric sticking out of the dirt toward the edge of our property. As I pulled on it and lifted it up, I discovered that it was a barrier that either kept the nearby soil intact or was used to keep weeds from growing from that soil into the atmosphere. After deciding that it was doing no good where it was, I pulled it all up and saved myself a pile of ugliness that I had originally thought I’d through away. Earlier on this season, I came up with an even better idea: I’d use this fabric to cover my vegetable garden. I’d trim it to size and then cut small holes in it through which I could plant my seeds. The fabric seemed somewhat indestructible and it allows water to permeate it, so I agreed with myself that using it was a good idea. Over the past weekend, I trimmed the fabric to size and yesterday, I began cutting the holes in it. I also planted seven kale plants and seven chard plants. The tomatoes will come later on when I can locate some that are already growing.
Take a look at this fabric. It’s the stuff straight jackets are made of. I have no idea what it is, but it certainly doesn’t biodegrade.
It’s nearly impossible to cut with scissors, but a sharp razor goes right through it. As it stands, I’ve got the entire garden covered with this material, but have only cut 21 holes in it; enough for almost half of the entire area.
So far, I’ve filled three watering cans and watered the fabric with it. The water first moistens the material and then drips down into the dirt. Besides using this stuff as a weed barrier, I also very much like the idea that it’s going to slow evaporation tremendously. The sun won’t be hitting the soil itself, so that won’t dry out nearly as fast as it usually does. During the heat of summer, that can happen quite quickly. Watering gardens isn’t one of my favorite pastimes, so this should work out.
If I didn’t happen to find this woven weed control covering for free, I think I may have gone out to purchase the more popular garden weed mat that most people use. It comes in a big black roll that can be used for real professional or larger back yard gardens. The weed mat material is thinner and easier to work with, but since I found what I have, I’ll take advantage of it.
I hope you can appreciate how much more I’m at ease now that I don’t have to concern myself with all the weeding I usually dread. Once the plants begin to grown and I have something to show you, I’ll either write a new post or add to this one to show you either my success or failure. I sure hope it’s a success. I don’t see how it can’t be.