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New England, July 2016

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Re: New England, July 2016

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 8/1/2016, 3:22 pm

@bigdogrock wrote:Thanks for your post Beetles. That gives me more confidence in using it again next year.
My friend and neighbor uses it on his garden. I saw it and asked about it. He gave me the leftover part of a roll. He uses it differently than I do, he puts it down then covers it with either leaves or evergreen needles (I think they are pine needles.) He has little in the way of weeds now, after he put it down, but I want to watch it for the rest of the season, in both his and my garden.
Last year was a very weedy year, I was very frustrated with weeding, I spent way to much time trying to control weeds and little fun time making my garden look nice for me. I do like to just sit in my garden and enjoy it, so I make it look the way I want it to look, and weeds ruin that. Last year was difficult  for me because I just didn't have the time to make it look nice. It was productive, but way to labor intensive because of the weeds. The rain and the way I watered contributed to it, along with not getting a jump on them. I didn't let that happen this year.
That is why I started using the garden fabric. I used it on about half of my garden, for two reasons. First I wanted to compare how well it worked by how much time I spent putting it in, keeping it down or maintaining it, and finding out if there are any hidden problems or labor involved. Second, I am able to compare it to the other half that doesn't have it. I spent about the same time preparing the garden with the fabric as I did with the gardens that didn't get it. So, the difference so far has been A LOT LESS WEEDING in the fabric covered gardens.
So far I really like it. Weeds are almost non-existent. I think it holds the moisture in somewhat, and the water seems to drain right through it. I see nothing negative about its use so far. Even the cost doesn't bother me if it saves such a great amount of time weeding.
There are a few positives that I should mention too. I now concentrate my visual senses on just what is growing out of the black fabric. I am not worried about always trying to scout out the little weeds that turn into bushes overnight, I am watching my veggies and I am more in tune with what their status is, so I am actually taking care of them in the moment, not distracted by how many weeds have come up. Another big one for me is the fabric hides the soil, so the wild turkeys  don't come into my garden and take a dust bath, which ALWAYS kills my veggies. The turkeys can see grasshoppers and other bugs on the fabric and make short work of them too. bounce
If there isn't anything drastic, I will use this again next year on all of my gardens. except my garlic garden, it is so easy to maintain because it is the only garden growing early in the season and I am able tweak it and keep the weeds down. I will put mulch over half of the covered gardens next year just to see how it does as opposed to not putting mulch on. So far so good!
I'll add that mine is a fabric-y type not the plastic-y, pitted, stretchy type. And it does hold moisture: When I went to remove it and my plants last year, I could see there were tomato roots at the surface, right under the fabric. They could only survive there if it was humid.

Your comment about visual senses makes me half wish I'd put fabric under my ground cherry plants for the ease of spotting the fallen ripe fruits. (Only half because the alternating squares are growing ...rather were supposed to be growing... carrots; messing with 16 holes in the fabric and tiny seeds ...no.)

I'll add to sanderson's comment to say seeds aren't the only problem with projectile weed bits... if you whack poison ivy (or another plant you react to for that matter)  No

Relative to your wet notes, this may help. I transplanted both varieties w/ 76 in the name at the same time, but one of my labels didn't fade, so I can provide a side-by-side of a cucumber from each:

BeetlesPerSqFt

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Re: New England, July 2016

Post  bigdogrock on 8/1/2016, 4:14 pm

Nice lookin' Cucs Beetles. I put my gardens at a predetermined distance from each other so I can get my Snapper lawn mower in between. Once the grass starts growing very little escapes the HiVac they are famous for. I personally like nice thick grass growing outside the boxes, it is what I want. I don't mind the little extra work it causes. I like the look and the feel of it. I am sure there are down sides, but it works for me.
I think I will be able to figure out what my cucs are when they all start coming in. Next time I get into my seeds I will probably be able to tell what it is. For now, it tastes good.

bigdogrock

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Re: New England, July 2016

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 8/2/2016, 8:09 am

@bigdogrock wrote:Nice lookin' Cucs Beetles. I put my gardens at a predetermined distance from each other so I can get my Snapper lawn mower in between. Once the grass starts growing very little escapes the HiVac they are famous for. I personally like nice thick grass growing outside the boxes, it is what I want. I don't mind the little extra work it causes. I like the look and the feel of it. I am sure there are down sides, but it works for me.
I think I will be able to figure out what my cucs are when they all start coming in. Next time I get into my seeds I will probably be able to tell what it is. For now, it tastes good.
Thanks, Rock! These cukes are sooo much better than last year. I grabbed transplants for a variety labeled as Bush Slicer last year. I don't what I was thinking, I knew I wanted a vining variety. It might have been there wasn't much selection left, I don't remember. The plants got sick fairly quickly, and were thus low-yielding, and the cukes weren't handsome. I never did figure out what the problem was. Reading various threads, I'm thinking it was actually multiple problems. Possibly some malnutrition leading to diseases, and stress leading to more insect feeding, leading to more stress and diseases...

This year I was determined to make it work: three different growing locations, five different varieties (transplants started by me, not purchased), and five different starting times. These were planted first, and are yielding first.

The lush lawn aisles do look nice! My aisles started as grass, but quickly turned to mud with weeds and weedy grasses at the base of the boxes. I don't think I can have lush grass in my aisles for this garden - maybe if I had different lighting or soil I could. Now I have woodchips and I've been slowly eradicating the weedy grasses because they invade the beds. I've been leaving selected weeds because bare aisles feel so hot and dry in the summer - and because flowering weeds attract pollinators, and beneficial bugs. I do need to tie some of them back, though... swimming through a cloud of small wasps and wannabees is kinda fun, but.

BeetlesPerSqFt

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Re: New England, July 2016

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