Weed Free Gardening
We have found the two biggest issues we face with our garden is the weeds and the watering.
Much of this is due to all the time we spend on other things. Being retired you would think we would have time for everything. But aches, pains, and doctor visits seem to occupy more time than we would ever have imagined.
So the weeds get out of hand, and the watering gets off schedule, the bugs move in and we are so behind.
New plan of action.
First, we cleaned out the chicken coop, and spread the bedding around. Really, we put wheel barrow loads in piles and let the chickens do their thing and sread the bedding around for a few weeks back in February. We let it set, plenty of rain to soak it down really good and then we put down black plastic over a section of the garden west of the raised beds. This was in place for about 4 weeks.
After pulling back the silage tarp, we rolled out the ground cover weed barrier about 20′ long. We used a cattle panel for the trellis, and 3 t-posts for support. The cattle panel is 16 feet long, about 50 inches tall and very heavy gauge galvanized steel construction. The panel attaches to the t-posts with some wire clips that are very quick to attach and later, remove. We sourced the cattle panels, t-posts, and clips from our local feed store where we buy feed for our poultry.
Using a handy propane torch, we cut the fabric, which melts the cut so the fabric does not unravel. Each place we are going to put a plant, we cut a small hole in the fabric.
After all our holes were in place, we placed a 20 foot length of drip tape. In our case we are using drip tape with 12 inch spacing. The drip tape can be on top of the ground cover fabric, or under it. Some folks have even put the tape in the ground, placing their plants over top of the drip tape. We like the tape on top so it is easy to see it is working properly and can make any adjustments that might be needed later.
We have added several more rows of the fabric. We use the 3 foot wide rolls and over lap each row so the weeds have no chance of growing up in between the rows.
We are ready for some weed free tomatoes. The drip tape connects to a 1/2 inch black poly tubing that connects to the irrigation manifold with an automatic controller. That will be the next post.