top of page

Never Pull a Garden Weed Again!

Welcome back to our homestead, everyone!

We've had our fair share of ups and downs with gardening, making numerous mistakes along the way. However, we've discovered an easy and effective method that surpasses our early experiences. Today, we're excited to share it with you, so you can enjoy a seamless and delightful gardening experience.

This article is a synopsis of the video below, be sure to watch to see the gardens first hand.

When we relocated to the Missouri Ozark's, one of the first things we did was start a garden on our homestead. We already had experience gardening in an urban setting in Phoenix, where we achieved moderate success, considering the desert environment. But when we moved to southern Missouri, we were pleasantly surprised by how well things grew here. However, we realized quickly that Missouri also grows super-powered weeds!

In our first year, we followed our usual gardening routine, laying down cardboard, manure, straw, and other materials to create a fertile surface. It looked promising, and we expected great results, similar to our garden in Phoenix. However, within a month, we were overwhelmed by the rapid growth of gigantic weeds. It became impossible to keep up with them, and we reluctantly accepted that our hopes of a weed-free garden were dashed.

This setback prompted us to explore alternative gardening methods that would make our lives easier. We turned to YouTube for inspiration and found that most people were either using the Back-to-Eden method, a traditional labor-intensive approach, or opting for raised beds to gain better control. We knew there had to be another way, so we delved into online research to find a solution that would work well for us. This journey led us to the system we're about to show you today, which we've been using in our gardens since 2018. Since implementing this method, we've hardly had to pull a single weed. Our plants thrive even in the middle of summer, and maintaining a weed-free garden has become a breeze. We're eager to share our insights and tips with you, so you can achieve the same level of success.

Before we step into the garden, let's take a look at the key component of this system: woven ground cover. It goes by various names, such as weed fabric or woven weed fabric. It's a type of certified organic plastic weed barrier that features a woven structure, resembling a super shade cloth. Unlike solid black plastic, which prevents water penetration, woven ground cover allows rainwater to seep through. Additionally, it helps maintain cooler soil temperatures compared to bare soil or solid black plastic. Just like traditional mulch, it aids in moisture retention, minimizing evaporation. This woven ground cover has proven to be a game-changer for us, and we believe it will revolutionize your gardening experience too.

Now, let's head into the garden and demonstrate how we utilize this method. Over the years using this method, we've used 3 ft. wide, 6 ft. wide and 15 ft. strips of woven ground cover, overlapping them and securing them with landscape stakes/staples. This creates a weed-free expanse for planting. Each roll is around 300 feet long. Initially, the ground cover doesn't have holes for planting, so we use a torch to burn holes where we want to place our plants. This method prevents fraying and ensures a lasting solution.

One of the advantages of this system is the durability of the woven ground cover. It can last anywhere from 8 to 12 years, making it a long-term investment. We've been using the same material for years and anticipate at least five more years of use.

One of the key advantages of this woven ground cover is that it keeps the ground cooler compared to bare soil or solid black plastic. By acting as a shade cloth, it provides a cooler environment for plants. Last year, we conducted experiments and found that the soil beneath the ground cover was consistently cooler than the surrounding soil.

Additionally, this fabric helps retain moisture in the soil, reducing evaporation. Similar to traditional mulch, it acts as a moisture barrier and helps prevent water loss. This feature is particularly beneficial for conserving water and maintaining optimal soil moisture levels.

We often get asked about the heat generated by the ground cover. Even during hot summer days, we can walk barefoot on the fabric without any discomfort. It remains at a comfortable temperature for us. Additionally, we find that the ground cover helps control weed growth, acting as a barrier between the soil and weeds.

Now, let's discuss some lessons we've learned from using this ground cover in our garden. In the past, we made the mistake of leaving spaces between two pieces of fabric for planting crops like lettuce or green beans. Unfortunately, this allowed weeds to grow and intertwine with the crops, making it difficult to remove them without damaging the plants. To address this, we now burn holes every 4 to 6 inches and plant our seeds directly in those holes. This method significantly reduces weed growth and makes it easier to maintain the garden.

We understand that some may perceive using the ground cover as additional work, but we believe it's a worthwhile investment. By doing the initial work of laying down the fabric, burning holes, and taking necessary precautions, we save ourselves from constant weeding and maintenance throughout the hot summer months. It provides us with a clean and productive garden space where we can focus on harvesting and enjoying our crops.

Furthermore, we've noticed a significant decrease in ticks in our garden since using the ground cover. Previously, when we relied on mulch, we encountered more ticks while working in the garden. The ground cover has effectively eliminated this problem, allowing us to work comfortably and safely.

Regarding fertilization, we have adopted a targeted approach. Rather than fertilizing the entire garden, we focus on each individual plant. When planting transplants, we add a small amount of rabbit manure to the hole before placing the plant. This provides a nutrient boost for the growing plant. For seeds, we top-dress the soil with rabbit manure or other fertilizers of our choice. As the plants develop, the fertilizer gradually reaches the root zone, nourishing the plants effectively.

In terms of irrigation, we use a drip tape system for watering. This system, designed for larger areas, ensures efficient water usage with low water pressure. Some gardeners prefer placing the drip tape underneath the woven ground cover, while we choose to lay it on top. Placing it on top allows us to easily monitor the system and identify any issues promptly. However, if you live in an extremely dry area, placing the drip tape underneath might offer better watering efficiency. As we are located in an area with ample rainfall, we've found our method to be suitable for our needs.

We genuinely believe that growing our own food is vital, and if there's an easier and more efficient way to do it, we encourage everyone to adopt it. The woven ground cover has transformed our gardening experience, making it enjoyable once again. We hope that by sharing our success with this method, more people will discover the benefits and join us in creating their own thriving gardens.

If you're enjoying our videos and content, please consider subscribing to our channel. Your support is greatly appreciated. Sharing our videos is also a wonderful way to help us spread the word about sustainable gardening practices.

Thank you for visiting our homestead, and until next time, take care and God bless!

Kevin & Sarah


bottom of page