I'm losing the fight against weeds. No, i'm not going to show you the weeds. It's embarassing. But i will tell you that I weed, and I weed, and I weed, and then I turn around and basically in the same afternoon the weeds have popped up again. I really need to mulch to prevent new weeds from popping up in the spaces I have already weeded over and over again. And weeding is not really that fun, folks!!
I am also poor. Grandma suggested, and several websites, newspaper as a mulching material. And I like this idea, because it is free. The garden is so big that to put down the 3-4 inches of tree bark mulch necessary to prevent weeds would cost a fortune. You can also use grass clippings, I hear, but our grass clippings are rife with weeds. You may recall, if you read this blog, how the weed-stop plastic works: take a look here. The other good thing about newspaper is that it is biodegradable. Hopefully not too soon.
The trick is to put down 3-4 sheets of thickness. I did that. You also want to get it close to the plants.
I had to use rocks to weigh it down, but you will want to give it an initial soaking to keep it stable so that it does not blow away. You are looking at the hybrid Big Boy or Better Boy tomato plant, here. It is the one I showed in a previous post that is showing a few flowers. :)
I do need to put down more papers and eventually get the entire garden mulched. As it is, I was really trying to concentrate on the rows between the lettuces. As you can see, here,
the newspaper mulch is serving a dual function: keeping weeds at bay, as well as defining the rows of greens/lettuces for us. Before, I got a little nervous and edgy everytime the Mister stepped foot in the garden and began walking in that general direction (the lettuce patch) because there were so many weeds and the little baby sprouts were almost indistinguishable. Now you can really tell where the rows are.
Here are some photos of how the greens are doing. Well, you can already tell how the mesclun greens are doing, the PRIDE OF THE GARDEN!!
I really washed them out with this photo. If you want to learn how to take great photos, go to this website and check out her photography section. (Pioneer Woman). Every photo she has on that site is fantastic and she gives great tips. If you want to read about gardening without knowing anything and a lot of trial and error, but a pervading sense of delight, keep coming back here.
So, in a closer look at the lettuce rows, here is the sorrel these days:
This is an extreme closeup. Now, remember that this row was really failing and I had to replant it completely after the extended rainy period, so this is newly sprouted. Notice the ground is wet. It has also been raining again for the last three days. Well at least I do not have to water!
Here is the arugula - a newly sprouted bunch and then an older, more mature bunch:
So now you know what arugula looks like when it grows out of the ground.
This is what the bibb lettuce is looking like these days:
Still little babies. You can see the newspaper edging right up to it. So, hopefully this newspaper experiment will really help me out, here. According to this article, it is very effective. And according to this guy, he uses the method all the time. My neighbor, a previous White House horticulturalist, gave the thumbs up to this method and gave me the advice to soak the paper first. So, we shall see! Stay tuned!