I got to spend some quality time in the dirt this weekend. I harvested the first of the carrots...
and found all kinds of baby pumpkins, pickling cucumbers, a few baby green beans and some green cherry tomatoes all waiting to grow and ripen and end up in my family's tummy...or the freezer...or the canning cupboard. My one gardening downfall though, the thing that makes me growl every time I wander out there, is the paths in between my raised beds. They are full of weeds that usually get left untended until they grow higher than the beds. Then I'll take the weed eater out there, whack them down and it looks nice for about a week until they all start to grow back. And because I'm so cheap, I've been trying to figure out really thrifty ways to solve my problem. This weekend I was finally able to tackle the job and I'm pleased with the FREE results.
I started by whacking the weeds down (again) and this is what I was left with.
Next I grabbed FREE flattened cardboard boxes from the recycle bins behind some local stores and laid them along the paths making sure to overlap them and get as close to the edges as I could to keep the weeds from sneaking by. I didn't bother to cut them into pieces either. I laid them down whole so they left a double-thick cardboard layer. The cardboard serves two purposes; it smothers the weeds underneath while also slowly decomposing to form rich organic matter in the garden.
Here's the extra fun part. I noticed some neighbors had hired a company to come out and chip up some branches and chop down a few trees. My smart husband decided to go over and see what they were going to do with the wood chips. Turns out they were more than happy to drive them right over to our driveway and dump them in a pile for FREE. It saved them the cost of having to dispose of them and they also gave us the wood from the trees they chopped down too. So we got several rounds of free firewood waiting to be split and seasoned.
So we spread our free wood chips on top of the cardboard to make nice tidy organic paths that will keep the weeds away for a several seasons before enriching the soil as they decompose.
Ahhh, project completed.