Gardening hack keeps weeds at bay
Hobbies are beautiful, but even better is a hobby you can share with someone you love—and for me, that's always been gardening with my dad. Every summer, I would watch him load big bales of dirt into a wheelbarrow and go to the small garden patch he had plowed alone in our backyard. One day, I decided to go out with him, and the habit stuck.
From diligently pruning tomatoes to harvesting large zucchini, we tend the garden together all summer long. Since I had to enjoy the sunshine in the summer and not have to pull weeds all day, my dad taught me a foolproof method of keeping weeds at bay: using landscaping cloth, or weed paper as he called it.
How does weed cloth work?
Weed paper serves as ground cover, and this particular version is made of heavy-duty woven polypropylene. This material promotes plant and root growth, reduces soil erosion, and prevents weeds from appearing because they are suppressed by the paper and the sun cannot reach them.
It is easy to plant seeds or seedlings using weed paper. Take to the garden with weed cloth, stakes, and a box cutter.
1. Lay the cloth across the new soil and cover it.
2. Secure it with stakes, then cut small holes in the fabric with a box cutter wherever you want to place a plant.
3. Then, dig a small hole, pop the plant in, and cover it back with dirt. You can leave the excavated dirt on top of the weed paper.
4. Additionally, I like to add a layer of mulch to cover the paper for an extra barrier.
Watering the plants above the weed paper is no problem, and the paper retains moisture, helping the soil stay nice and moist between waterings. It allows water and air to pass through, so there's no need to worry that the right elements aren't getting to your plants.
Get this if your garden is overgrown with weeds
Gardeners will understand the pain this causes: I have a patch of spearmint that never left my garden. That (plus clover and creeping Charlie), equals too many weeds to go away year after year—that is, until I put down the weed paper.
Using weed cloth makes the garden neat, tidy, and spacious. By suppressing those weeds, I allow other plants in my garden to use the nutrients and thrive. Plus, one of my dad's favorite tips is to leave the weed paper down after pulling your plants up for the winter. It suppresses weed growth throughout the winter and spring and makes for an easy setup when it's time to establish a summer garden.
Is it worth the money?
Any landscaping fabric you buy is absolutely worth the money. Although it costs more to leave your soil uncovered, it brings so many benefits to the garden that it's worth the cost. In most cases, it can be easily found for purchase anywhere from your local garden center to Amazon, making it an accessible option for home gardeners.
After using weed cloth in the garden for over 10 years, my dad and I give it our stamp of approval. Add this garden old-fashioned to your arsenal the next time you're planting—we promise, you won't miss an hour a day of weeding.