It has been said that the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results. This quote echoes in my mind every time that I weed the garden. I know that more weeds are just going to pop up. I know that the hours of hot, methodical work will only need to be repeated two weeks later. Yet, I still do it. I do it because I want my plants to be healthy and I would like my garden to look good. Of course, diversity within a given area is important, but this particular plot is mine. Plus, I plan to plant a wide-variety of species that will help to encourage beneficial insects, birds and microbes. I just want to be the person to choose (sorry Mother Nature).
To combat my gardening insanity, I decided to buy a whole lot of black garden fabric (100m²) and cover the soil in the hopes that it would kill the weeds. As it turns out, I was supposed to buy a whole lot of clear plastic that covers the ground and then solarizes the soil to kill the weeds and cook the seeds. The black garden fabric takes much longer to kill the weeds and some of the stronger weeds will grow right through the fabric. Not to mention the fact that some of the seeds from tougher plants will grow roots right through the fabric. This means attacks from below and above.
However, I am still hopeful that my efforts will pay off (at least a little bit!) and many of the weeds will be killed or prevented. Next year I am expecting that I will be able to simply space the fabric a little bit farther apart, add a few stone/brick walkways, cut plant size holes in the fabric and pop the plants right in. This should also be practical for maintaining soil temperatures and moisture. I may also buy some straw to keep the low-growing fruit from burning on the warm black surface. Lot’s to hope for, but I am sure it will be worth it in the end when we can enjoy delicious, all natural produce and share our bounty with those around us (and maybe sell some, too!).
For now, I will just have to wait and see (and weed the edges!).