Using Landscaping Fabric To Create A Weed-Free Vegetable Patch
If you've decided to give growing your own vegetables a go, you're likely aware that gardeners can struggle to control weeds. Weeds can take valuable nutrients from the soil and attract pests that can decimate your plants, so it's a good idea to do what you can to minimise their impact on your vegetable patch. Landscaping fabric is a type of plastic sheet that's used as a weed blocker, and it can be used regardless of the types of vegetables you are growing. Here's an overview of how to use landscaping fabric in your garden:
Clear The Soil
Before laying landscaping fabric or plants into soil, you must first clear it of any old plants, weeds or embedded roots. If your soil is dry and compacted, spray the surface with a little water from your hose to loosen it, which will make it easier to remove deep-rooted plants. If you have large roots embedded in your soil, such as those left behind when clearing bushes or perennial plants, using a cultivator can speed up the job and make it less labour-intensive. Once the debris has been cleared, fill in any holes and use a rake to level out the soil.
Lay The Fabric
Once the soil is prepared, measure your vegetable patch and cut the landscaping fabric slightly bigger than the size required. This will ensure that the edges of your vegetable patch are completely covered when the plants have been put in, and you can cut away any excess fabric once the vegetable patch is fully planted and complete. When you lay the landscaping fabric over the soil, you can hold it in place with a few heavy rocks around the perimeter. This will only be required temporarily until the project is complete, but it will prevent the fabric blowing off the soil if it gets windy.
Plant And Protect
To plant your vegetable seeds or young plants, simply cut circular holes in the landscaping fabric at the spacing recommended on the seed packet for each type of vegetable you are growing. The holes should be big enough to allow your vegetables to be picked without damage to them or your landscaping fabric, and for most vegetable plants, holes with a 4- to 6-cm diameter are sufficient. Once you finish planting, you will need to cover your landscaping fabric with woodchips to a depth of a few centimetres. The woodchips will hold the fabric in place, improve the appearance of your vegetable patch and protect the roots of your plants from being damaged by the sun, as landscaping fabric tends to absorb heat and can cause the soil underneath to become too hot and dry for some plants.
Using landscaping fabric for your vegetable patch can save you time and energy by preventing the need to weed the patch throughout the growing season. If you'd like some guidance on the quantity of woodchips you'll need or the different methods used for cutting holes in the fabric, consult your local provider of landscaping products.