How often do you notice the ground that you're walking on? Not often? That's because you haven't been on these beautiful repurposed garden paths! Get inspired to create your own little path of happiness at home.
Some times I can get huge amts. of reclaimed wood and I have been making flooring and wainscot panels in what we are calling a basket weave ( for lack of a better term) at 30" square, can
be glued and nailed with splined edges to lock together. I also can make borders in various chevron or herringbone patterns to go along with. These can be had unfinished or clear finish in many species, and are for sale by the Sq.ft.
Weeds. The enemy of gardeners the world around! They are responsible for choking the life from vegetable and flower gardens, while stealing life-giving nutrients away from our plants.
Weeds are also the reason many gardeners throw their hands up by mid-summer and call it a year.
It simply doesn't have to be that way. In fact, some of the most time-consuming chores we have been led to believe help with gardening and weeds - are actually the main culprit to creating more! Simply by eliminating those weed promoting practices, and replacing with a few time and labor saving methods - you can all but eliminate the issue of weeds in your garden.
We spend no more than 10 minutes a day handling all of the chores in our garden - including weeding - and that's not a misprint! The first step is realizing that eliminating weeds in a garden is a process and not a one time thing. But don't let that scare you - the process is simple and leads to a productive and beautiful garden in a fraction of the time.
Here are six ways we keep our garden weed free - and fun to be and work in!
TIP 1: Eliminate Bare Soil From Your Garden And Beds
Bare soil is at the root of most weed problems. Bare soil is an open invitation for blowing weed seeds to become established. By using mulches and protecting the soil, you can cut the potential for future weeds dramatically! We use a combination of mulches in our garden space to keep it covered. Straw and shredded leaf mulch in the walking rows, and a 2 to 3 inch mulching of compost right around our plants.
Just remember - open space is an open invitation for weeds and soil erosion
TIP 2: Resist the Urge to Dig and Till Your Soil:
This is the biggest time-saving AND weed saving tip we can give. Stop tilling the garden! In the time it takes a person to till between the rows of a garden the same size as ours, we have finished our 10 minute gardening work day, grilled out for dinner and are sitting on the patio enjoying a cool beverage! And while working that extra time tilling - that person also just replanted tens of thousands of weed seeds that will germinate in the coming weeks.
Tilling simply takes all of the weed seeds that are laying on the surface, where they may never germinate, and plants them into the soil. Tilling over time also can destroy your soil's structure, but when it comes to weeds - it's a prime reason gardeners have to spend so much time trying to eliminate them. It takes time, gas, and is a never-ending chore. Instead - heavily mulch your rows with grass clippings, straw, or shredded leaves - they keep weeds to a minimum and help add vital nutrients to the soil as they break down.
We believe in this one so much we actually have an entire post dedicated to it: Why Not To Use A Rototiller.
TIP 3: Don't Over Hoe Your Row
Here's another long time garden chore that used to take hours in the garden - and should take only minutes. Using a hoe to loosen the surface soil around the base and root zone of your plant is a great weekly practice. It provides air to the plant's base and allows nutrients and water to more easily reach the root structure. But that is the extent of what is needed - just a 3 to 5" light hoeing of the perimeter soil around the base of each plant. Leave all of the other space in your planting rows alone and simply mulch it! Over-hoeing creates the same issue as tilling - planting above ground weeds seeds back into the earth. All you need is a light hoeing immediately around the plants - it saves tons of time and labor, and eliminates replanting weed seeds.
TIP 4 : Start Practicing The Art Of Cover Crops:
Start cover cropping this fall. Cover crops really help eliminate weeds over time by protecting your bare soil over the late fall, winter and early spring months. They have obvious benefits to helping your soils vitality, but they also help to form a barrier for blowing seeds to enter and lay in wait. After a season or two of cover crops - you will be amazed how little weeds actually even appear in your garden. You can find more about cover crops here : Cover Crops In Your Garden.
Tip 5 : Keeping The Weeds Out Of Walking Rows:
Keeping weeds out of the walking rows between your plants is just as important to the health of your garden as it is the look. The answer - Mulch - Mulch and more Mulch! We use whatever we have on hand. Straw and shredded leaves work great to create a thick 3 to 5" covering between our planting rows. From time to time a few weeds will start to pop up - and we simply pull them on our daily trips through the garden. If they become thicker - we simply take the weed eater through the garden and mow them down to the grown and reapply a few more inches of mulch. It immediately looks great again and stays that way for weeks. It's so much quicker and better than tilling up that soil between your rows!
TIP 6: Practice The 10 Minute-A-Day Philosophy
I think there are a lot of skeptics when we say we spend only 5 to 10 minutes a day in the garden for maintenance. However, that is one of the biggest secrets to maintaining a weed free garden - actually spending that time in the garden each day! This may sound a bit crazy, but 10 minutes of daily work is not the same as spending 70 minutes once a week in the garden.
In fact, there is a huge difference between the two. If you let the garden go for more than a day or two - weeds and the problems they bring multiply and magnify. Roots get deeper, spread and multiply, and suddenly you feel overwhelmed. What takes 10 minutes one day can suddenly take 4 to 8 hours when it has been neglected for a week or two. And guess what? It's not fun anymore at that point.
We head into the garden every day and walk the rows. If we see a weed around a plant, we pull it as we go. Usually, once a week we will spend the time hoeing the area only around the plants - once again - the process just takes 10 minutes to do the entire garden. Another day, we spend the time putting down some extra compost mulch around the plants or straw or shredded leaves in the paths. That's it.
So there you have it - how we keep our weeds and workload to a minimum. And remember the reason most of us garden in the first place - to eat healthier and get a little exercise. This is a perfect 10 minute workout every day!
Happy Gardening! - Jim and Mary
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"Outdoor Bonus Room" ~ An often over looked space in the landscape that can provide a great return on design value is the space under the deck! If you are building a new deck or have an
existing deck the area under it will need to be considered. Most of the time it is covered with rock or mulch and left alone. If you plan to complete yourself or hire a design professional make sure you consider a couple of factors: Head room - 7' is a good minimum height for useable space; Drainage - always make sure you create a positive flow away from the house; Planting Soil - if you plan on gardening you will need to amend the soil and work to negate the compaction due to deck construction. When working on your landscape master plan make sure to create an "Outdoor Bonus Room" under the deck. Cheers!
We're parents of two small boys who live in a 1200sq ft house. To give us some more space, we build a treehouse for them in the backyard. We picked a good, sturdy cherry tree and did
research on how best to build a treehouse without doing much damage to the tree. We asked our kids their input on what they wanted most, and took it into consideration (sadly, electricity was not included. :) It took us about two months, working mainly on the weekends. The treehouse is accessed through a trapdoor through the deck which you climb up through the ladder. Overall, it was a smashing success! My boys play in it every day, even in the rain. To see the full project details and more pictures, check out my blog post.
We love the look of old barn doors. Ever since building the original doors from salvaged barn flooring - we have wanted to build a few more to make into a headboard.
So with the weather still snowy and cold over the weekend, and no ability to work on the chicken coop or recycled greenhouse project - it was time to cure the winter blahs with a building project! And yes, sadly, as the garage became a temporary workshop, Mary's vehicle was once again the victim and banished to the driveway :).
The headboard can be made with a variety of materials. If you want a rustic look - you could easily use pallet boards and old barn wood to create it completely from recycled materials. It can also be built from simple framing lumber. Ours is a combination of both, along with some salvaged barn hardware saved when we deconstructed two old barns.
Since this was built for a king sized bed - we built it as two separate door frames and then attached them together once in the bedroom. It made it easier to move and work with, not to mention fit through tight hallways! When finished - it measured 6' high x 83" wide.
Here are the basics on how we made ours:
(4) 2 x 6 x 72"
(3) 2 x 4 x 80"
(4) 2 x 10 x 29"
(2) 2 x 4 x 29"
(12 to 16 pieces) of 3/4" or 1" thick, 48" long boards
Tongue and groove wood, old barn siding or pallet wood would work great for this, we used some 3/4" x 8" wide tongue and groove boards we bought at the lumber yard for around $40.
(2) 2 x 4 x 72"
(1) 2 x 4 x 85"
Tape Measure, Circular or Chop Saw, Drill, JigSaw, Nail gun, (30) 2 1/2" screws, Biscuit Joiner (overkill)
Step 1 - Cut Materials
We started by cutting all the materials to length - using a mixture of scrap lumber and purchased wood from the local lumber yard. Scrap wood is actually a great choice, even if it is nicked up - adding a rustic feel to the finished piece.
Step 2 - Making The Top Curved Boards
Taking the two 29" 2 x 10" pieces - we traced a long curved line on one and cut it out with the jigsaw. We traced the cutout to the second board to match, and made our second cut.
Step 3 - Laying Out The Doors:
Next, we assembled the two doors - one at a time. We built the doors face down, assembling it from the back.
We started with (2) 2 x 6" x 6' rail pieces. We then laid (2) 29" pieces between the 2 x 6" side rails for the doors. We put the curved board at top, flush with the top of the 2x6's. We placed the other 29" board 24" from the bottom of the door , and the remaining 2x4x29" board 42" from the bottom.
Step 4 - Gluing the Frame:
I applied glue to all of the joints and clamped them together while nailing on the backing boards. I did take an extra step and added simple biscuits to the joints for added strength - It's a habit of "overbuilding" that I tend to have :). Simply applying glue to the joints and clamping would have been enough, especially with the backing boards and 2 x 4" braces we attach later.
Step 4 Assembling the Door
Using a 2 x 4 as a guide on the outer edge of the back of the door frame - and with a nail gun, we nailed in all of the 48" tongue and groove boards across the door opening - nailing on the top and bottom, and to the 29" 2 x 4"piece as well. You could use pallets or reclaimed boards here just as easily. By nailing in to the door frame boards, the door becomes one solid piece. Once done, we repeated the process and built door #2.
Step 5 - Assembling The Headboard:
We took both doors to their permanent location before assembling into the final headboard. Placing both doors side-by-side with the fronts facing the wall - we screwed in the top 2 x4 x80" piece to connect the two doors. Then we installed the remaining two 80" boards - one at the very bottom and one at the bottom of the 2 x 10 x 29" board located below the tongue and groove boards.
Step 6 - Trim and Hardware:
Next, we flipped it around, and added a couple of 2 x 4" trim boards on each side as well as the top to trim it out and give a little depth. All that was left was to stain, and add the old barn hardware. We finished it off with a couple of old lanterns, and the headboard was complete!
From start to finish - the entire project took about 4 hours. Well, 4 1/2 if you count cleaning the garage back up :)
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