Sunday, March 3, 2013

Laying pathways in the garden

I wanted to show everyone a ranching mans version of walkways that are weed free. With our new garden, I wanted to establish some walkways. There are several benefits to establishing walkways in a garden. First of all, when you walk, you compact the earth. Your plants and earthworms love fluffy ground, not compacted ground. They need the room to establish good root systems. If you walk around your plants it will cause them to not reach their full potential. That is also the reason why I like established 'garden' beds. So you, and your friends, know where to walk and not walk.
Second of all it looks more pleasing to the eye. A well structured garden looks well and appears as though you had it planned from the get go. (Which I always wing my garden layouts).

Ok. Let's get started!

I first start by laying out feed bags (from our cattle) and card board boxes. This works in several ways, first they are environmentally friendly and will eventually decompose into the earth. But they also suppress any weeds that were there by denying light to get through. The result will be a chemical free/weed free walkway. 

This is the next step in our three step process. I drench the bags with water. This helps get all the bumps out of the bags and helps to keep everything in place. I was doing this on a slightly windy day. Mother nature won't time things with me. She makes it blow like a son of a gun on days I need to put plastic tarps up and lay out bags! So I drenched everything to keep it in place. (I actually did two sweeps of water cause the bags kept flying! 

This is the next, most exciting part. I sprinkled a heavy layer of pine bark from my local Lowes around the bed. I ended up using 18 bags which was about three bucks a bag...I think. :) I didn't spend over $50 bucks. Wow..I need to start keeping receipts for all of you thrifty readers. :) 

I then drenched the wood with, you guessed it, more water. It allows it to settle so you can find your gaps where bags show through and where you feel you need more 'mulch'. 

That is it folks. It's a ranchers version, and a cheap version, of making a walkway. I obviously this first year with so many other expenses won't lay rock...that will be another year. I always like a raised bed surrounded by brick or rock from the property. But with so many new projects going I had do do something fast and quick for a no-weed walkway.