Confession time...I'm back, after a long absence, to admit that the garden is (was I guess, because it's all pretty much dead now) an absolute mess this year. Plants didn't sprout. The ones that did were killed by one of several things: a freak freeze in May, bugs, being overpowered by my nemesis, Johnson Grass, being eaten by goats (pretty much every herb I had, except the apple mint), or the lack of rain. Laziness definitely played a part as well.
Rather than focusing on my absolute failure in the battle of gardener vs. nature this year, I've decided to plan ahead for next year.
Step 1- Fire!
Okay, I know it sounds a little extreme, but I'm that frustrated with the damn weeds. "Now Renee," you might say, "what did you expect when you tried to turn a pasture of Johnson and Bermuda grasses into a garden?" We'll, you've got me there. I absolutely wasn't thinking! Anyway, back to fire... When the few, sad, pathetic tomato plants finally give up and die we're going to mow it all down and then go out with a hose and a weed torch and burn all of the stubble away. (See, not as dramatic as it sounded...)
Step 2- Wooden frames
Hubby is going to build me frames for my raised beds to help keep the weeds out! After seeing some of the roots on the Johnson grass he decided that two foot tall beds might deter the stuff. It has the added benefit of straightening out the mounded beds, which ended up all cockeyed. Once the frames are in place I'll put a couple of layers of cardboard underneath and fill it with screened topsoil and compost.
Step 3- Cardboard
This involves going to three or four stores nearby and asking nicely if we can have their boxes. After they say yes, I will break down all of the boxes and pull off any tape before covering all of the paths with several layers of the overlapped cardboard.
Step 4- GravelHubby has found a source for all the free gravel he can carry (isn't Hubby awesome?) so, over the several layers of overlapped cardboard, he will put down six inches or so of gravel. This will serve to hold down the cardboard and to keep the paths dry.
There are still some details to work out, but this is the current game plan.