A Practically Weed-free Way to Garden
Anne B. Cole
Thank you, Catherine for inviting me back to A Writer’s Garden. Every gardener enjoys eating fresh produce straight from the backyard. With three teens and two jobs, people ask me how I find the time to grow a garden and keep the weeds out. Over twenty-five years of trial and many errors, I’ve found the easiest way to maintain a vegetable garden in my backyard.
Planting the garden is easy…How do I keep the weeds out without hours of back breaking labor?
My secret? Modified raised beds.
In April, my husband tills my 15’ by 50’ garden with a walk behind rototiller. I take a shovel and scoop shallow paths between three-foot beds. They can be bigger, but I like this size because I can easily reach across pick produce from one side. I simply dump the dirt from the path onto the bed. This raises the bed a few inches. Then I rake it smooth. The beds created are only about six inches higher than the paths. Excess rain drains to the paths so no veggies are flooded. As I mow the lawn, I place the grass clippings in the paths so I never need to weed them. This adds nutrients back into the soil as an added benefit.
After planting, I quickly erect a temporary fence from stakes and three-foot chicken wire to prevent the rabbits from feasting on tender plants. The fence keeps most wildlife out. Humans are permitted to walk in the paths, but never on the beds. This keeps soil in the beds soft, loose, and easy to weed.
Once all of the seeds and plants are in, I sit back and watch from my writing spot. Once a week, I hoe in between the plants to keep the weeds out. By July, the plants are big enough they shade new weeds out so I only need to hoe if I’m replanting late beans, onions, or carrots. Some plants grow so fast they cover not only their bed, but adjacent ones as well. The rabbits stay out and the veggies thrive.
After we enjoy the yummy veggies, I remove the larger debris and cover the ground with leaves from the yard. Instead of raking, I mow the leaves, collecting them, and dumping them on the garden. They break down nicely over the winter in preparation for next year’s garden.
The raised beds weather a bit over the summer so by fall they aren’t as pronounced. When my husband tills again in the spring all the beds disappear and I start over. I have permanent strawberry and blueberry beds on the ends of the garden which are not tilled every year.
My family enjoys showing and sharing our garden with friends. Picking produce and eating it within minutes is a taste adventure like no other. Even my pickiest of teens will grab a green bean or snap pea from the garden and eat it raw.
If you have any questions about gardening with modified raised beds, leave a comment today or visit my website www.annebcole.com and click on the CONTACT tab. I’m happy to answer any questions.
Thanks, again, Catherine for hosting me here today on A Writer’s Garden.
Happy Gardening to All!
About the Author:
Anne B. Cole loves to read a wide variety of books. Her first book, Souls Entwined, is a time traveling adventure with supernatural spirits, pirates, and a touch of sweet romance. All this and more are combined to attract teens through octogenarians.
Anne lives in the Midwest with her husband and three teenage children. Her hobbies include running so she can indulge in her cravings for ice cream, donuts, and chocolate chip cookie dough. The first two books of The Souls Trilogy can be found on Amazon.
Look for the final book, Souls Endure to be released Fall 2016.
Drop by Anne’s website at www.annebcole.com and visit her blog for posts on writing, recipes, gardening, and preschool activities.