This weekend was a huge. While in the last week I've barely spent a total of 30 minutes in the plot - I've made up for it with a good two-and-a-half hour slog over the weekend. Naturally, however, if I'm going to invest this much time in the garden, I want to be doing something that's going to cut down the amount of time I need to keep the cogs turning.
Enter weed fabric, Stage Right.
For $9, I picked up a 10m roll of weed mat on Saturday morning. I've used similar stuff before with mixed results. For starters, the last roll I bought was woven plastic - and while it said it would let water pass through, it would mostly run off. Don't believe its evil lies! I'm sure water would run through if you say, tried to line a pool with it. This stuff however, is fabric. Oh weed fabric, where have you beeeeen all my life??!!
Why do I need weed fabric, you rightfully ask? Ok there's plenty of good reasons. But let me draw your attention to exhibit A: "The evils of modular block retaining walls". Just look at it. That shit is growing under the blocks, through the gaps and into my garden. There's grass and Pennywart invading en masse. Given my time again, I would have lined the inside of the wall with said weed fabric of awesomeness, but alas, to do so now would be a far greater investment of time (and disruption to yonder citrus' roots) than I care to give. So I intend to lay it over the top.
First of all though (and most importantly, mind you), to save time later I'm going to give my Orange trees a good feed before I lay the weed fabric of awesomeness down. Today I'm spreading a bag of enriched moo poo around the drip line of the trees, with some slow-release citrus food and finally some blood and bone (with added potash goodness).
Scooping the old sugar cane mulch to the side, I've tried to pull out as much of the invading platoon of life-sucking useless weeds as possible. I'll want this mulch later; because its broken down quite considerably - its rich and moist - its almost compost. But let me sing the praises of sugar cane mulch another day.
I've laid the weed fabric of awesomeness out on the garden bed in place. Let me show you some of its finer qualities. Not only does it not have the same water-phobia that historically the plastic variety has, it's really easy to pin stakes down through it. In this case, I've put my water-spikes through it into the ground, as well as the stakes I have guiding my beloved Orange trees to the heavens. Best of all, they drive through tight on the edges of the newly formed hole, so there's no space for anything to grow through (Well, ok - that remains to be seen. Ya know what they say - Evil slips through.)
The excess can be tucked under the top row of blocks (well, there are some saving graces of modular blocks). While I'm sure I could leave it just as it is, there's a number of problems (other than the weed fabric of awesomeness wanting to embrace its freedom, and take flight on the next liberating gust of wind). First of all, it's black - and I'm not so sure baked citrus roots it going to be useful or tasty. Also, the goodness of being porous and letting the soil breathe probably also means that some light is getting through. Now. Let me tell you about your run-of-the-mill grass and Pennywart. They're tough bastards. Yes, they're going to go a little yellow, but on that little bit of light, they're going to continue to suck the life out of my soil like the cold blooded vampires they are. So I'm going to cover the lot with some fresh sugar cane mulch. It's going to keep everything looking consistent, its going to make more compost, and most importantly its going to put those few extra nails in.
And hey presto. The garden has been weeded. Hopefully - permanently. Now all I need to do is water in all the goodness (with some added Epsom salts for sweetness), and we're done here.