Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Weed Control in the Garden: Wood Chips and Gravel

I think that every gardener has the same experience in the spring...weeds!
You carefully cultivate the soil, plot neat rows, set each seed perfectly to sprout.
And before those seeds are even germinating, the weeds start to move in.
It is a daily chore to keep up until later in the summer when the weeds seem to give in.
My soil is not sterilized, and we use irrigation water, so weeds seem to find there way into my garden no matter what.

My garden spaces are divided into areas.
My large row garden is about 100' x 50'.

Just in front of the row garden, is my fenced garden with four raised beds.
When designing it, we decided to lay down weed fabric and cover the pathways with small crushed rock.
It has worked beautifully for the last 10 years.

The gravel was well worth the investment!

There are very few weeds that pop through, even after 10 years.

Behind the fenced garden lie my herb beds.
Again, I didn't want a lot of maintenance with the paths.
I could have just let grass grow, and mowed regularly, but we have a large yard.
So, instead we used wood chips.

We laid down the weed fabric first, making sure to get close to the sides of the beds,  and then covered in wood chips.
I get the wood chips free from local tree chippers.
Just watch for them in your area and don't be afraid to ask them if they need a convenient place to dump chips.
You do need to have easy access, so take that into consideration.

{Back side of the herb garden...entering through the holly hocks!}

I add more chips each year to freshen the paths.
Some weeds to come through, but very few, and the maintenance has been easy!
I really like the footing.
So do the chickens, and when they free range, I find lots of holes where they have laid.

Here is to getting ahead of those weeds this year!
March is at our door and with it the promise of rain, muddy boots, and fresh seed packets to plant.



Bonnie said...

Julia, My place in the country also has some raised beds with gravel and weed fabric, however mine haven't done as well as yours. I am constantly battling the morning glory/bindweed in the irrigation water. Your yard is beautiful. I think I'd better get to work in mine.

Elaine in Alabama said...

Beautiful! In town I now only have a small herb/kitchen garden, and it is raised with grass in between the beds. Since we just cut it out of suburban backyard, that was easy. The downside, which we didn't think about beforehand, is the mowing of those grass paths. They are too small for a mower! I just weed-eat them carefully so as not to damage the "crops". I have a similar garden in our mountain getwaway, but I can't really get too industrious because we don't live there, plus the deer eat whatever they please when we are not there! I'm putting in lavender this year to see if that helps....Question: What breeds of chickens do you raise?

Unknown said...

Love your garden and yard posts!! Wouldn't it be great to go outside right about now and pick flowers?!! We have a LONG wait here, but will be looking forward to those muddy boots and new seed packets! Your gardens are SO pretty! Could look at pictures of zinnias all day!

janice15 said...

I always thought gravel was a good option but I worried about the weeds coming through. But now I know what to ask for thanks for sharing love all your garden space with love Janice

GeorgiaHoneyBee said...

Beautiful gardens!! On your zinnias, do you scatter plant the seed, or do you start them inside from seed? I want to do a large zinnia area this year, and cannot figure out if I should start a whole bunch of seedlings or scatter the seeds along a row... Your chickens are beautiful too!!

Julia said...

Hi Bonnie! I get very few weeds in the gravel, but generally I used a hose to water that area and the gravel isn't getting that wet. So....definitely something to consider if you are watering with irrigation. I do get that awful bind weed, too, in other areas.


PS: Your yard is simply beautiful, too!

Julia said...

HI Elaine!

Your little garden sounds wonderful :) I have a mish-mash of chickens: Araucana, Banty, Rhone Island Reds, and White Leghorn. I love those girls!


Julia said...

Yes, Patty...I would LOVE to picking flowers right now. That's heaven to me!


Julia said...

Thanks so much Janice!


Julia said...

Hi Georgia Honey Bee {cute name},

I always just start the zinnia seed outside after all danger of frost is gone and the weather is just starting to warm up. I plant in long rows with good fertile soil and make sure to water regularly. I also give the zinnias a little fertilizer after they are about 8 inches tall....just before they bloom. You will LOVE having zinnias in your garden! Good luck!


LL Farm said...

Your garden is beautiful! Great tips with the gravel and wood chips. We just installed a picket fence around our garden and loving it. Enjoying your following.
Lori from LL Farm

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