Monday, April 28, 2008

Creating Pathways in the Garden

Yesterday was quite nice out and I had a trunk full of free mulch I had picked up in town, so DH and I seized the day and decided to create pathways between our lasagna beds.

First, I pulled back the black weed barrier and found a surprise guest:


Bailey was curious, but cautious:


Bailey supervised as I got ready to mow the grass around the beds as short as possible:

lasagna garden beds

Next, I laid down a layer of cardboard and soaked it with a hose. Note to self: Putting down cardboard goes much faster than using newspaper! Second note to self: Since it goes so fast, it couldn't possibly hurt to put down 2 layers next time.

lasagna garden beds

A thin layer of mulch goes down on both pathways. I kept the pathways fairly wide because originally I was thinking I would need to get a lawnmower in between the beds. I decided to keep them wide anyway since I'll still need to get the wheelbarrow between the rows and we certainly have plenty of space, so may as well give myself plenty of room to work.

lasagna garden beds

Almost as soon as the mulch went down, I decided that it was probably a mistake. The idea behind mulching the pathways was to cut down on having to mow and try to keep the grass from encroaching on the garden beds. However, the more I thought about the mulched areas around our yard, the more I thought about all the weeding I have to do in those mulched area. Mowing grass in a narrow pathway would go WAY faster than weeding. I'm starting to think that keeping grass between the pathways would actually be the lower-maintenance option.

Instead of immediately ripping it all out, I decided to leave it for now. We'll build 2 more beds this season and leave the grass in place - this way we can have it both ways and see which way ends up being less work. Having it both ways will certainly bother the anal part of me that likes things to be just so, but it will be a useful learning exercise, so I'll try my best to overlook it.

I dug a trench around the remaining borders of the beds to discourage the grass from trying to take over the beds:

trench around lasagna garden bed

Next project - hopefully to be completed next weekend as long as the weather holds out - a fence to keep out the bunnies. But so far this week is looking rainy and cold, so who knows when we'll get out there again............


  1. Well, I think it looks nice with the mulch in place- and with the layer of cardboard in there, you may be okay on weeds for awhile. I'll be watching your progress with interest this year. :-)

  2. Thanks Erika. I'm crossing my fingers for a successful year. I've been so discouraged in the past with fighting Japanese beetles, various kinds of wilt and all kinds of problems! I'm due for a good year. :)

  3. Alysha- that snake is so pretty! And awesome for your garden... hopefully there are more lurking about :)

    I am attempting to start a small garden myself this year. Usually I just help at my parents' huge garden and bring home goodies from their house. But this year I want tomatoes and pumpkins and peppers outside my door (yes - an odd assortment!).

    Your progress is going great :) Good luck and keep updating us!!

  4. Wow, you have a beautiful golden! We joined a CSA this year, so I've been waffling about building a garden, but I think you have inspired me to try this method. Maybe just a small garden with some herbs and heirloom tomatoes.

  5. Josie - Good luck with yours too. I think pumpkins may go into our garden too this year. I guess I should really plan it out, huh?

    Natalie - I keep wanting to try a CSA, but then it seemed silly to do that AND build a garden. Definitely try the herbs and tomatoes - that's what I plant when I can't plan anything else because herbs are so expensive at the store and store-bought tomatoes are generally worthless.

  6. Alysha- your cooked beds look great! I'll be interested in the results of the mulch vs. no mulch experiment on the paths. My new bed seems to be pretty happy too- I've just put in tomato plants, and seeded beans and squash. No snakes when I removed the black plastic, though- phew!

    Stephanie (Gertdog)

  7. Hi Stephanie. Good luck with your beds. We'll have to compare notes. So far I'm really pleased with how things are turning out. I owe you a big thank you for being the one that let me know that lasagna gardening existed in the first place! I'm addicted! :)