Grow Your Own: Weeds

This is the third post in a series about gardening. Today I’m going to give you a few ways to avoid weeds. Because they suck. No one likes weeds.

Although, according to A A Milne and his beloved character Eeyore, “Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.” Way to be positive Eeyore.

So the best way that we have avoided weeds is by putting down landscape, or weed block fabric. It’s about $5 a roll and is probably not awesome for the environment…but I work full time and have lots of other commitments to family and friends that are more important than weeds. So weed block fabric works for me. It will run you about $20 for the whole garden.

Another option I haven’t used but I have heard about:

Cardboard and newspaper. Lay down your paper flat (if you are using newspaper, lay down a bunch of layers.) Cut holes in it and plant your seedlings. Cover the remaining bare newspaper/cardboard with grass clippings or leaves. Eventually the paper will disintegrate and decompose.

Also, you can get fancy and plant low crops around ones that are taller- plant lettuce seedlings around your pepper plants, for example. The pepper plants take awhile to produce so you can harvest lots of lettuce before the peppers take off and need the space.

Overall, you will have weeds in your garden. I still have to go through and weed every week or so. But if you use preventative measures, you shouldn’t find it to be a huge problem. Just think of it as garden cardio!

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Grow Your Own: Finding room to grow

Hi there!

I wanted to start off this series by saying that I am no expert in gardening, or anything else (except Harry Potter and 311.) I just love growing food for myself and my family and I am hoping this might help some people like me that are true beginners discover the pleasure of doing that, too!

Step one
Finding space for your garden

The basic things a vegetable garden will need are:

Sun
Water
Soil

This may seem like a pretty easy list but it can get a bit complicated depending on your situation.

First, if you are in a condo or apartment with no yard, you can still garden in containers. I will do another post on that someday soon

Okay, so assuming you have a little yard, the first thing you want to look for is the path of the sun. Wait for a nice early spring day and sit outside. Watch the sun at 10 AM, 2 PM and 4 PM. Take note of areas of your yard that stay mostly sunny. You can’t have a garden in an area that is shaded for any large position of the day. You can grow shade tolerant plants but that is more like Gardening 201.

So once you’ve found that sunny spot, you’ll want to consider a few logistics. First, what’s currently there? Is it a patio or deck, is it a paved area, or is it part of your lawn?

If it is a patio, deck, or otherwise covered area (no soil) then you will have to work with container. Fear not! Containers are an excellent way to grow food and they offer many advantages for a beginner.

Second logistical item is, do you have access to water? Ideally the garden should be very close to your kitchen. You’ll be more likely to use it, I promise. You will want access to water if you are growing more than a few containers of vegetables. Buy a longer hose if you have to. You will not want to drag the watering can over 1,110 times in the hot summer.

Now that you have chosen your location, you will need to prep the soil. In containers, this means buying potting soil. For a more traditional garden, I recommend borrowing or renting a rotatiller to pull up the grass that is there now. You can do this in mid to late April.

One last thing to consider is the pest issues you have. If you have a lot of rabbits, deer, etc, you may want to consider a raised bed and/or a fence. Your local hardware store can guide you on what to buy.

Next time, I will be discussing what to put on your shopping list, and what’s a waste of money.

Happy gardening!
AM