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raised bed paths ?  RSS feed

 
Remi Gall
Posts: 44
Location: Romania
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3 years ago i made 20 raised beds sized 4x2m.

The problem is with the paths that are always full of weeds. I've tried mulch like newspaper and cardboard covered with leaves but in time the leafs are blown away and seeing newspaper and cardboard in the garden is not very pleasant.

Plastic weed mats are not an option cause i hate plastic in the garden, since they will only pollute my eco soil.
Cement paths are also out of the question.
The paths are not wide, only ~50cm so grass also isnt an option since i cant mow it.

If anyone has an idea i would love to hear it.

Thanks !
 
Kirk Hockin
Posts: 67
Location: Merville, BC
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bee bike duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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Wood chips
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Yip. Chipped tree mulch, really thick.
As a bonus, after a few years when it's broken down, I just chuck it onto the gardens and replace it.
I don't use anything underneath, but I have no hardcore weeds either...
 
Remi Gall
Posts: 44
Location: Romania
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Thanks for the replys ! but i'm not sure where to get that many wood chips
 
Kirk Hockin
Posts: 67
Location: Merville, BC
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I get the local tree services to dump their trucks at my place. Around here they have to pay for dumping their chips, so if they are nearby and can dump it for free, it's win-win.
 
Remi Gall
Posts: 44
Location: Romania
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I do have a lumberyard nearby but they only have tree bark and those are large long strips that arent very practical for paths
 
Kirk Hockin
Posts: 67
Location: Merville, BC
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Do you have arborist/tree service companies? They usually travel with a wood chipper on a trailer and chip the branches and leaves they are cutting down. If I see one in the neighbourhood I ask if they'd like to dump at my place. You could also try calling them and asking.

 
Karah Sullivan
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use river rocks
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I use different things. What I have. The best here is a double or triple layer of cardboard topped with a fat few inches of wood chips. Boards work too. When I go to the ol seed and feed and I have a couple extra bucks I like to get broken flagstones and other paving stones. Chop and drop works too, maybe you could grow something tall and stalky. I use sunchoke stalks.

For a while we had a lot of great sawdust and we used it for urine only in a composing toilet and we made a path with that.
 
Remi Gall
Posts: 44
Location: Romania
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Kirk i wish we had services like that in my area but i dont know anybody with a woodchiper, last year i was planning on making one but time and $ wasnt on my side

Karah, rocks arent a good idea unless i put cardboard under them, in which case that is a really good idea

Matu, i will give cardboard another chance, and the saw dust idea isnt bad either !

Thanks for all the helpfull replys

Whay i think i'll do is only use cardboard and no newspapers, and mulch with small river rocks that i will first collor with my organic dye, lyme mixed with black colorant.

The other question is how long will the cardboard last since my sprinklers are set to go off once every 4 days for around 10 hours.
 
Adam Klaus
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Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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I have a similar issue between raised hugelbeds, since my paths are only about a foot wide.

I have decided to sow red clover thickly in the paths, then mow with a weed wacker, which will be easy with the narrow paths. Red clover doesnt spread much by rhizomes (unlike white clover), enriches the soil with deep roots and N fixation, and wont reseed agressively.

Personally, I am not a fan of cardboard or plastic of any type. Too much chemicals, harbors insects, and disrupts capillary action in the soil. I think a living mulch is more ideal. At best the inorganic mulches are neutral, I am aiming for a positive.

IMHO, clover>woodchips>cardboard>plastic.
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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remi willis wrote: mulch with small river rocks

I've had negative experiences with stones used as mulch in my climate, and I think they could be a real hazard on a path.
I have an unfortunate vision of breaking an ankle while trying to get a wheelbarrow over them
How about Adam's suggestion of clover? My chip paths are basically clover patches.
 
Remi Gall
Posts: 44
Location: Romania
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Adam that is a great suggestion ! thanks ! i almost went with cardboard but red clover sounds way better

Do you have any pics with your paths ?
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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I agree with Adam, clover is best. I prefer white clover for its thickness and low growing habit. I have been thickly sowing white clover all around and we have it everywhere. If I am making a mowable clover path I make it just the width of my reel mower.

I don't put cardboard down hoping it will last, it's just an initial weed barrier. The worms make it disappear fast. If you don't have speedy invasives like Bermuda grass or bindweed you probably don't need it.

One of the best ways to make a good path is to have children run along it every day! They get a familiarity with the garden, they learn the difference between path and bed and once the walkway is clear, people stick to it pretty well. I did this in the spring and really summer this year and forgot until now. Fun!



 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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remi willis wrote: i almost went with cardboard but red clover sounds way better

I wouldn't use red clover as it grows pretty tall.
I second using white clover, also known as Dutch and New Zealand.
Keep in mind that bees love clover, so if you have kids and/or go barefoot in the garden you might consider:
Matu Collins wrote: a mowable clover path...the width of my reel mower
 
C. Kirkley
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Some good ideas here.

I will be in need of something for the same purpose soon. We have a type of short leaved grass here. I was considering making that my walkway using a root barrier of some sort. It could even be boards placed on edge, dug in about 5-6 inches. The grass never gets over 6 inches tall and neither do the seed heads, so no mowing is required. It also pulls very easily.

That may also be an option for you in your area.
 
Adam Klaus
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Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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Leila Rich wrote:
I wouldn't use red clover as it grows pretty tall.
I second using white clover, also known as Dutch and New Zealand.


There are several reasons I prefer red over white, again just my experience here-

-white spreads by rhizomes and will slowly but persistently creep into your beds.
-red grows much deeper taproots, which improve the soil more substantially than white.
-red may grow taller, but it is very easy to cut with a sickle or weed wacker, and the taller habit makes the seedheads easier to cut off.
-white goes to seed more rapidly, and being lower growing, it is difficult to cut low enough to chop off the seedheads.

Again, both are great, and I have both in different places, but all in all, I give the nod to red clover for paths between hugels. YMMV.
 
Margie Nieuwkerk
Posts: 51
Location: Bulgaria, Zone 7/8
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I have been considering the same. I am looking at several varieties of paths, here's what I've come up with so far:

1. cardboard topped with gravel

2. planting path with roman chamomile - this grows low to the ground, smells lovely and makes a really nice thick mat

3. planting path with "Herniaria Glabra" a low growing, tough mat of green - here is a link: http://www.perennials.com/plants/herniaria-glabra.html

4. putting flagstones or cement tiles with spaces of soil in between, in which I grow either the roman chamomile or the Herniaria.

5. planting the path with rye grass, clover, buckwheat, plantain, dandilion, etc. and making a lightweight chicken tractor to fit the width of the path, and just pulling that along every other day or so, that way the chickens can keep it under control while feeding themselves.

6. I am not sure if this would work, there is a lady in Ireland, she has a site called "Bealtaine Cottage" and she has a permaculture property. In her greenhouse, she actually dug a path down deep (got rid of the topsoil) and tamped the stuff down, and no weeds or plants have grown there since. I am wondering if this would work in the garden as well. Just dig down below the topsoil, and maybe what's below is not interesting to plants? Any thoughts on this by anyone??

7. cardboard with several inches of straw on top

One thing I learned..... MAKE YOUR GARDEN PATH WIDER THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED - its amazing that what looks like a really wide path in early spring, is hardly visible in June and July because everything alongside the path has grown so much! I have now pulled back lots of plants alongside the paths and replanted them in order to widen the paths.

I also tried boards on a path and I wasn't happy with the result, mint grew between the cracks and almost covered the boards and also when it rained, the wood was very slippery and I near killed meself one day.



 
Margie Nieuwkerk
Posts: 51
Location: Bulgaria, Zone 7/8
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C. Kirkley wrote:Some good ideas here.

I will be in need of something for the same purpose soon. We have a type of short leaved grass here. I was considering making that my walkway using a root barrier of some sort. It could even be boards placed on edge, dug in about 5-6 inches. The grass never gets over 6 inches tall and neither do the seed heads, so no mowing is required. It also pulls very easily.

That may also be an option for you in your area.


I would LOVE to know what kind of grass that is?
 
Adam Klaus
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Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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One other idea that I like a lot, and plan to use in a future greenhouse, I saw at CRMPI (Colorado Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute)-

Make your paths worm beds!

Dig out a trench in the path, then fill with tasty tender worm food. Add a handful of red wrigglers. Then lay a narrow pallet, like cabinetmakers use for shipping, over the top of the worm bed. Finally cap the pallet with a scrap of plywood. You walk on the plywood, which is supported by the pallet, so that you do not directly compress the soil in the worm bed. Every year or so, lift up the plywood and pallet, and shovel out bucketfulls of worm castings. Add fresh worm food, replace the pallet and plywood; rinse and repeat.

Having seen the system at work, in a greenhouse that stays warm, it is a brilliant system.
 
Leila Rich
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Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Adam Klaus wrote:There are several reasons I prefer red over white, again just my experience here-
-white spreads by rhizomes and will slowly but persistently creep into your beds.
-red grows much deeper taproots, which improve the soil more substantially than white.
-red may grow taller, but it is very easy to cut with a sickle or weed wacker, and the taller habit makes the seedheads easier to cut off.
-white goes to seed more rapidly, and being lower growing, it is difficult to cut low enough to chop off the seedheads.
Again, both are great, and I have both in different places, but all in all, I give the nod to red clover for paths between hugels. YMMV.

Well how about that.
I'd never actually noticed that my red clover wasn't 'jumping the fence' like the white.
There goes my permaculture 'observation' badge
I don't cut my paths, so a creeping clover's a major selling-point for me.
I haven't stood on a bumblebee yet; it's only a matter of time though!

Adam Klaus wrote:
Make your paths worm beds!
You walk on the plywood

That's cool
I'd have to rig up something pretty grippy on the ply- the old chicken wire trick doesn't work for me, I've had the bruises to show it...
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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