Sunday, July 19, 2009

Preventing weeds

Yesterday was electronics recycling day at the Maplewood Recycling Center. Whenever there is mention of a trip to the center, my gardening instincts kick in and I think about the piles of free compost and mulch the city offers for those who can haul it away. And haul it away they do – by the truck loads. 

Before heading out, Steve packed our old Mac computer screen, hard drive and keyboard into the back of the Saturn station wagon. Keep in mind that the earlier models of Macs can take up lots of car space and I was thinking about how I may be limited in the amount of "black gold" I can bring back. Darn it! I was able to get in two rather big muck tubs so I was happy and already thinking about my morning and spreading the organic stuff.

So while Steve took care of getting a tax write-off for our old computer at the center, I was shoveling the brownish-black mulch which is a mix of composted dirt, partially decayed tree bark and leaves and other matter rich in nutrients. I will use this on my side flower bed to thwart weed growth and maintain some moisture for my daylillies, irises, alysum and other plants that get lots of sun. Without some sort of ground cover, crabgrass takes over! The look of the dark mixture is just right against the green and white colors in the area. So nice!

Another weed preventer I use is marsh straw. This ground cover is sold in bales like pine straw is in the South. Pine straw is really difficult to find up here which is unfortunate. I love the beautiful orange-brown color of recently fallen straw or even the darker brown tones found baled in stores or sold from trucks on roadsides. I remember buying pine straw in Birmingham for les than $2 a bale. This marsh grass is sold at a rather pricey nursery in town for $16 a bale! I cringe admitting that I pay that much for this but you do get a lot of it and I usually have some left over after the growing season. It is a nice compliment to my vegetable garden and I like the fluffed-up look of it around my green beans and cucumbers. Most importantly, it prevents weeds and saves me lots of time working in the garden.


Amy L said...

Well, that is a high price, but there are plenty of people trying to rip you off selling pine straw around here too. It really looks great and glad you got the compost.

Jeff Branch said...

I think pine straw goes for something like $4.50 per bale at Lowes. Great post. I wish we could get compost here like you do.

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