What is the best thing to put between the beds.

stacey3822March 3, 2009

First of all let me say what a WONDERFUL forum! I have been gardening for years here in KS and the weeds have always been my demise, especially bind weed (a morning glory looking thing). I think the stuff would survive a nuclear war.

My husband is helping me with the garden this year and he thinks we should plant grass between the beds. After the initial set up the rest of the gardening is left to me and I'm not willing to do any more weeding than absoultely necessary. I'm leaning towards to covering the entire garden area with several layers of cardboard topped off with a couple of layers of landscaping fabric for good measure to supress and smother the prennials I know are waiting to tourture me. Then put the beds on this and fill pretty much as Mel suggested.

Any suggestions on what you folks have found the best material to use between the beds? I want my garden to be functionable as well as pretty.



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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

I hear ya on being over prepared. I went rubber mats (I had them), covered in landscaped fabric with 3 inches of gravel over the top. Gives it a clean look and nothing's getting through that. I like your idea of the cardboard and landscape fabric, should work well. Then you could top off with something like wood chips, mulch or gravel. I wouldn't leave landscape fabric to walk on.

Good luck and enjoy!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinfonian's garden adventure

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 1:00AM
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I use wood mulch I get free from the county. Under some parts I used pieces of landscape fabric that were either lefover from a project years ago or large pieces I cut out from under some trees last year. It's the kind that looks like a thick, spun fabric. When adding one of the new beds this week, I pulled a piece of the fabric out from under the mulch and I found a number of worms that appeared to be stuck in the strands of the fabric. One even had a string wound around his middle, kind of tying him in a knot. I think these are compost worms that have migrated from my garden beds (they came with the horse manure last year) and are chomping on the wood mulch. We have very few worms otherwise in the yard. I'm really leaning toward taking out the rest of the fabric. I pulled several chunks the other day but I know I have several more out there.

Keep in mind, I do not have a large number of invasive weeds in that area, and no bindweed (I've heard stories about that one though...).

Here is a link that might be useful: Tales of a Transplanted Gardener

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 1:08AM
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This year I am using my mini tiller. I am tilling all around my beds. I am trying to make sure I get all the grass roots up. I actually did it for one of my beds last year and I had absolutely no weeds in that bed. After I am done I am thinking about getting sawdust to put around all my beds. I haven't checked on the the cost of sawdust from the sawmill, but hopefully it is not too expensive. Using the tiller for me has been the only way I have been able to get rid of the weeds. The plus is I don't have to mow or weed eat between the beds either.

Here is a link that might be useful: Old Whites Mill Farm

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 8:37AM
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I was wondering about the smaller-size hog fuel? I can get in bulk for way cheap just a couple miles from me.

Based on my ornamental gardening experience, I'm not a big fan of landscape fabric; I really needed to keep up on the weeds. Weed roots grew through and into the fabric, pulling them up would also pull up the fabric, which then I never seemed to get out-of-sight again.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 12:14PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Hogfuel is just fine, no problem. Might even get some cool mushrooms out of it!


    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 1:21PM
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jbest123(Zone 5 PA)

Check around the neighborhood on garbage collection day. Many people will be replacing the indoor/outdoor carpeting on there porches. It is easily cut into strips and with 3-4" of wood chips would be great between the beds.


Here is a link that might be useful: Johns Journal

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 3:06PM
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Thanks everyone for the great ideas. I'm liking the idea of the old indoor/outdoor carpeting or maybe even some of that grass looking carpeting if I can find it cheep enough. While wood chips are very attractive and I have used them both with and without landscape fabric I have had weeds to still germinate both through the fabric and chips and on top.

Back to my garden planning.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 9:00PM
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claytamer(zone 6b TN)

I've used Ladino clover for awhile now. It grows close to the ground and forms a good barrier when planted fairly thick. A bonus is it also helps attract bees to my veggies. Just make sure you get seed that are preinnoculated.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 5:27PM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

I use black plastic to cover everywhere between the beds-its cheap. Then, I lay down a lot of bark. It looks good, smells good, and there is zero maintainance...

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 6:11PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Black plastic is a no-no. No. There are numerous reasons why, but it ruins soil structure. No black plastic.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 11:18AM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

I would not plant grass or anything else that would remove water & nutrients; and require further maintenance. Nor would I use landscape fabric or anything else that would not decompose.

Weeds sprouting in wood chips have been very easily removed, for me.

Gumby_CT- who considers grass to be a perennial weed that invades my vegetable garden.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 4:12PM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

Its definitely not a no-no. As far as ruining soil structure, who cares what the soil is doing between my beds? I dont grow anything except in the SFG boxes. The black plastic is in between the boxes, not underneath the boxes where things are growing...

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 12:17AM
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In my experience, my crabgrass and weeds will grow through just about anything. I'm either going to have to use some heavy duty rubber mats or carpet, or justplant grass. I'm leaning towards the grass idea. Mowing doesn't bother me a bit, because I know that whatever I choose to put down, weeds will find a way around or through it!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 1:46PM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

the weeds have grown through black plastic? Wow...those must be some kind of weeds! The only weeds that I get is were the black plastic isnt cut perfectly around my boxes. I sometimes get grass that can sneak in there, but other than that, I dont have any weeds between the beds with the plastic and the mulch on top of it to make it look nice..

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 1:59PM
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