Weed-Free, Self-Fertilizing, Till-Free Garden Beds

| 11/5/2014 8:57:00 AM

Tags: gardening, garden beds, mulch, Ohio, Melodie Metje,

Fall garden bed

Want a worry-free, weed-free, organic-matter-rich vegetable garden bed? Wow! That just sounds fabulous and a little too good to be true. Actually, it is doable and fall is the best time to put it in action. How? Mulch.

Mulch is an amazing thing. Think about how nature works on its own. Every fall, trees shed their leaves, blanketing the ground. The leaves break down over the winter, providing nutrients back into the soil in time for spring when the trees need to power back up again. And these trees grow to massive heights and widths!

Using mulch, wood chips, and fallen leaves for your vegetable garden beds provide the same benefits; returning nutrients back to the soil that your vegetable plants need to produce their tasty leaves and fruits during the growing season.

Mulch also keeps in moisture and absorbs water, significantly reducing your watering needs. It protects the soil from the winds blowing it away. To top it off, it keeps the weeds from sprouting and causing you to have to spend hours each week pulling the little suckers. What’s not to love about that!

A system where you don’t have to bring in outside resources to replenish your garden bed health is referred to as sustainable permaculture. In town, I think we need to look at this as utilizing the resources within our communities. Many communities have mulch free for the taking. In some areas, tree removers would be thrilled to give you wood chips for free to get it off of their hands.

12/26/2014 9:39:30 AM

Ah, grasshoppers! They can be devastating. There are several natural ways to help control them besides going on a daily grasshopper hunt. We keep a bird feeder close to the garden and have minimal problems with grasshoppers. Other critters that love grasshoppers are snakes, toads, ducks, guinea and chickens. Some other remedies is a 10 part water to 1 part molasses in a halfway sunken jar that attracts and then drowns them. Organic bug sprays like neem spray or a 1 part vinegar to 3 part water with 1 tbl of soap sprayed on the insect and plant (vinegar can burn plants in really hot temps). These sprays will kill any insect so be careful in using them. Nosema locustae is a microbe that will kill grasshoppers but also beneficial insects in the same family. Planting deterrent plants like calendula or cilantro around the edge of your garden can help keep them away. Diatomaceous earth sprinkled on the plants that the grasshoppers love will kill them, as it will kill any other insect that crawls on the leaves that DE is sprinkled on. It scratches their exoskeleton causing them to get dehydrated and die. DE is safe for humans and is even eaten by some for health benefits. Since you have the issue on only one crop, DE or the microbe might be a good compromise.

12/26/2014 8:58:01 AM

The problem with mulch is yes it attracts bugs and also the mulch absorbs nutrients from the soil. also when watering the mulch absorbs a lot of the water. USE BLACK PLASTIC IT WORKS GREAT AND IS GENERALLY LOW COT IN BULK!

12/26/2014 8:08:53 AM

I have had a problem with bugs, some of the mulch has bugs in it.. also you can attract termites. I also found that some trees leaves can sterilize the ground, so only their kind grows well.. also with leaves, you get some seeds.. so you have tress growing in your garden... I like to use gravel.. It also helps with water.. rocks pull water out of the air at night by Condensation... I hope that helps... thanks theglp Producer of the DVD Going Green, A Day on an Organic Farm Book Day On The Organic Farm2

11/14/2014 2:36:19 AM

"The other thing about healthy plants is that they are not bothered by insects. If you have a plant that is being attacked, the plant itself is likely not healthy." Really? I grow only root vegetables because summer typhoon tear up the above-ground crops. My sweet potatoes are champion but the grasshoppers just decimate my beets. The roots don't get bothered, but they don't grow very big without leaves to gather in sunshine. My beets start out vigorous in richly composted soil, chemical-free, and I mulch between them when they get big enough with rotted wood chips that don't get blown off by the wind. I can't pick off all the grasshoppers as I work during the day. My neighbor sprays his beets with insecticide and the bugs don't bother him. Grrr...

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