Sunday, May 6, 2012


Every year I try to make an improvement to the garden.  I was sick of looking at the shabby grass around the raised beds.  The enclosure is too small to get a mower around and too big to be using a weed whacker.  I wanted to neaten the place up.  Let's spruce up the walkways!

The first step was to lay landscaping cloth over the grass to keep grass and weeds from growing up through my ground cover, defeating my purpose.  Pretty easy work as long as you don't mind being down on your hands and knees for an hour or so.  Didn't pay too much attention to precision or neatness - it's not carpet.  I did make sure I used plenty of landscape staples to keep the cloth taught and less easily compromised.

I explored a couple of options for ground cover.  Initially, I thought of pea gravel, that stuff that is common on walk ways that makes that lush, crunchy sound when you walk on it.  It's a little expensive and really out classes my humble wood beds.  Also, no doubt bits would find their way out of the enclosure and into the lawnmower blades and that would not be good.  The other thing I thought of was crumbled rubber, a product that is gaining popularity on playgrounds and being touted as earth friendly because it is made from recycled tires.  I had seen it at Home Depot, not too expensive but before I lugged all those bags home I took a look on the Internet to get the real story on it's safety.

Good thing.  Because it is made from tires which involve rubber (not too bad) and petroleum products (uh-oh), gardeners were reporting that they were not using it around their organic gardens because of chemical leaching.  Not only is my garden organic but a) I go to great lengths to do my part for the planet and b) I live about 50 yards from the Mahwah river which is a primary water source for upper Bergen County, New Jersey.  Needless to say, no rubber pebbles for moi.

That left good old fashioned mulch.  It is environmentally safe and it eventually just composts to soil.  Yeah, I'll have to replace it every couple of years but it's worth it.  The garden looks neat and it will keep weeds and grass from jumping into the beds.

Mother's Day is coming up and then it'll be time to plant the veggies.  Can't wait!

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