You better buy the really tough stuff if removing every yr. At least with my weeds, Bermuda and similar, pulling the fabric up will tear it apart unless it’s very strong.
Thanks, that’s a very good point. .I probably have no recourse but to move it every year since I will be planting intensively and rotating the plot from year to year instead of rotating different crops within the plot. For our future larger garden we might succeed in leaving the fabric down.
If you can irrigate under the covering you’d be better off going with a heavy duty tarp or black plastic. That’s easier to move since the weeds can’t grow into the plastic. You could also go with the lighter weight plastic and discard after a yr or two. You do need something that has low light transmission. I’ve had weeds grow for yrs under fabric that transmits some light.
I have been using black plastic in my garden as long as I have been gardenig, pretty much eliminating weeding.
We buy the thickest plastic from Lowes and it last a few years.
IMHO, a torch is the fastest and the best method of making holes in heavy duty landscape fabric. Much like burning plastic rope instead of cutting it so it doesn’t unravel further.
If you do go with fabric, and are planning to remove it, do NOT get the type that has spun fabric on one side. The spun stuff will stick to the dirt, great if you want the fabric to remain in place but a pain if you plan on pulling it up frequently.
Since we’re just going to do a small, intensive garden this year I found a wonderful option:
a 12 x 24 foot piece of UV treated fabric for $25 (free shipping). Even if it only lasts 1 year (the company said more like 4 years but it doesn’t have reviews yet) that’s not bad for complete weed control!
For future gardens, we’re probably going to go with the Dewitt Sunbelt that has a 5 year warranty and comes in 6 ft wide widths. That will allow us to have a generous wide or double row with extra on the sides and then we will probably leave our walkways open (mulch, cultivate, or use cover crop) – as my husband plans to run his compact tractor down the walkways to do irrigation and other maintenance.
We can’t use black plastic with our current method of irrigation very well – we have no surface water source, so we use rain barrels and a pump run off the tractor to distribute. We favor soaker hoses that run on top because of clogging issues when placed directly on the soil and regular hoses at this point. But black plastic is always a future option.
Thank you everyone for the advice and experiences. I am really looking forward to trying the fabric this year and hope to have good success to report!
I like your hoops, can you tell me more about the materials and ways you made them? I need to make some to surround my young row of fruit trees along my property line.
I use typar road fabric for a weed barrier in some areas.
This is designed to put on a new road and spread gravel on top to keep the clay from coming up into the gravel.
I have seen fully loaded dump truck back over this material on wet clay with out damage. This is tough stuff.
A black uv stabilized woven poly. You can tie a rope to one corner of say a 12’ x50’ piece and pull it off of a garden with a tractor without damage ,to use some where else. Very tough stuff.!
I roll it out, pull tight, burry the edges 4" with soil, use a propane torch to melt holes just big enough to stick a plant in where the plants go, plant , come back and harvest.vegtables stay clean.shoes are clean. If the surface is kept clear of debris , I have had no weeds come up through this.
It does Shead some water, so drip lines wold be good under fabric, or stick a hose in one of the holes.
My soil is heavy red clay, that I often cannot work early in the spring.
If I lay this in the fall, I can poke seed and plants in the holes a month earlier that I can work the clay
Estimated life in full sun 10-15 years? More expensive than normal weed barriers , but much longer life span.
Don’t cut this material , rather melt it with a small propane torch, to " cut -make holes" as this keeps it from unraveling .
Check at a gravel yard or people that do road work to see where you can get it locally . – typar/ road fabric. It comes in very large rolls ,maybe more than you need? But they often have leftover pieces that they sell by the foot.
I have some where I built up the fertility to a high level befor laying the fabric . Has been in place and very productive for over 5yrs.
A completely weed free garden can be very productive.
Much better / longer lasting than any other weed barrier I have seen.
This is a good / easy way to garden
I am getting ready to purchase a non woven type of road underlayment filter/separation fabric but its not cheap! 6oz fabric 12ft x 330 ft for $500.
Ia that stuff water permeable?
If not you need to make allowances for watering and fertilizing
I have used landscape fabric over the years and there is always weeds coming up in a few years with that. It is sort of a losing battle.
The underlayment seperation fabric does drain 95gallons per minute. Its a tencate mirafi 180N
Expense non Woven Fabric, will pickup next week. I am going to use it for my french drains and whatever leftover I will repurpose for pathways/fence lines.
Gardening is only a losing battle when you give up, but it is always a battle. In some situations fabric is an effective tool, in some, it is not. By effective, I mean that it sometimes reduces the labor of weed removal. However when people don’t annually remove weeds growing out of it it can become a liability.
At places I use it I scrape off the mulch annually and replace. Obviously Hill is suggesting its use in the veg garden without mulch. I rely a lot on rain water so can’t attempt his method there. I use mulch over it when using it with fruit trees which vastly increases water permeation. I’ve seen sites where straight woven fabric was used (can last 5 years unprotected from the sun) but they employed drip irrigation underneath it.
It does last about 3-5 years depending on where you put it. Then you have to either start using weed sprays or tear it all out and restart the landscape fabric again. Usually for me it does well for the first 3 years and then , or so it seems, the next year it is full on weeds. Not a slight gradual weed here or there. The biggest problem I was trying to fight with the landscape fabric is poison ivy. My wife just has to look at it and she gets it on her arms and legs. So I was trying to get rid of that after I had it pulled out and the areas sprayed with high strength landscape weed killer made for poison ivy. It seems to slowly come back again.
I have seen more and more restaurants going to river rocks and lava rocks as alternatives to using mulch. I like that idea. I may look into using that instead. I know I will have to spray the weeds but redoing a large flower bed or sloping grade of land every 3-5 years is a lot more labor intensive. IMO
My problem with the landscape fabric is Quack Grass, once it weaves it’s roots in the woven fabric you might as well pull it all up, and that is a heavy chore.
I started prepping beds with black plastic the year prior to planting. It kills most weeds and grass, heats them up and starves them of water. I plant the next season.
I’ve ripped all of my fabric up. Grass roots inevitably weave their roots under and through the fabric. Weed seeds germinate on top and drop their roots down through the fabric as well. I had the good stuff too…not the black cheap stuff from HD.
I replaced my fabric with a combination of deep mulch on top of contractors paper. The mulch is free and the paper is cheap from HD. Weeds and grass that do grow in the garden pull right up super easy in just minutes. I’d say every few years you may need to replenish the mulch and add another layer of paper.
That paper w/o a mulch layer on top is a disaster
I might try this: Bio360 biodegradable mulch film.
This seems to be an English website, but I think Johnny’s Seeds carries this in the US.