Paths are necessary to get to your vegetables. Some gardeners plant in rows leaving the paths as grass and mowing it. Others will create paths laying down sand, weed blocking cloth, then brick or stone. Which way is the best way? It really depends on how permanent your garden is, and how much time you want to spend on the paths versus your garden.
So why make paths at all? The path should “make itself” – the well trodden area finally succumbing to the compressed earth. That would be okay, except for the weeds. The weeds will grow any place they can. Even the tightest laid brick walks will have little spots of green where a seed has slipped in between or a root has reached through enough of a crack underneath to sprout and grow. Blacktop? Aside from being extreme, anyone who has a blacktop driveway knows the same thing happens there, too – and who wants the smell (and the chemicals) in their garden?
One simple solution is to lay down a biodegradable weed block, then cover it with wood chips or other compostable material. As stated above, weeds will find a way, so why not make it easier for yourself, minimize the time you spend and actually get a reward at the end of the season?
- Level your paths if they aren’t already, and remove any larger clumps of grass that have already started
- Using 5-10 thicknesses of newspaper per or one grocery bag soaked and split apart, cover the area, overlapping the edges
- Lay wood chips, mulch hay, freshly cut grass, etc. on top, enough to weigh down the paper so it won’t blow away in a high wind.
- Add more wood chips, etc. to bare spots as necessary.
- At the end of the season, rake up what’s left and add it to your compost pile as a “brown” or carbon source, laying down new paper/chips/mulch hay at season’s end to get a jump on next season.