The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Spring weeding quick fix

Spring garden

Spring weedsThe mule garden appears so idyllic...until you look closer and notice that several of the beds have grown up in a mass of chickweed and purple dead nettle.  My greens overwintered well enough under the quick hoops to outcompete most weeds, but the lettuce mostly died and left plenty of warm, bare ground into which invaders could sprout.

If I'd been smart, I would have taken down the hoops once the lettuce died and let the cold slow down the weeds, then ripped the chickweed out and mulched the bare soil.  But I've spent all month working on the perennials, only giving the vegetable garden enough care to get early spring beds planted.  Luckily, there's a way to remediate the weedy ground without tilling --- a kill mulch.

Kill mulchFirst, I ripped off the worst of the above-ground weeds and laid down a thin layer of cardboard.  In my perennial patches, I've been using two thicknesses of corrugated cardboard since I have hefty weeds like wingstem trying to poke up, but one layer of cardboard is plenty as a weed barrier in a mostly-well-maintained vegetable garden.  I tossed some straw on top of the cardboard and proclaimed it done.

Meanwhile, other bare beds that won't be planted until May or June are getting a very experimental seeding of buckwheat.  The cover crop isn't frost hardy, but I've seen some leftover seeds germinating in the garden already, so I thought I'd give it a shot.  I'll let you know if we get a frost-free month to provide optimal biomass accumulation, or whether I threw my fifty cents and five minutes of time down the drain.

Our chicken waterer makes care of your backyard flock easy, clean, and fun.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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