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Prevent Weeds in the Garden by Using Mulch

One of the main reasons people shy away from maintaining their own garden is because of the time associated with its care.  Having to continuoulsy weed a garden plot is the biggest time commitment and one of the most labor-intensive chores.  However, for this gardening season I did not (and will not) pluck one single weed.  How did I manage this?  I used straw as mulch around my plants as weed prevention.

The tomato plants

My first banana pepper of the year!

What is mulch you ask?  Mulch is any material applied to the surface of your garden for protection (there are other benefits in mulching other than just weed prevention).  In our community garden, I have seen other gardeners use newspaper, black plastic, old carpet backing, grass clippings, leaves, and wood mulch.  My husband has farming connections, so we always have a way to obtain some straw for our garden!

The best time to put your mulch down is right after you plant your plantings.  As far as reapplying, we didn’t have to add any more straw to our plot this season, but we did last year.  Just keep an eye on things and reapply mulch once you start seeing some bare spots or any weeds popping through.

The Beaver Dam Community Garden Recap

This past summer (2010), Beaver Dam was blessed with a new community garden.  For a very small fee, residents of the community could rent a 20 foot x 20 foot plot and grow food to feed their families.  In some cases, such as with the Rotary Club’s plot, the food grown was donated to local charities.

This year the community garden featured 19 gardeners (I was one of them!) growing everything from tomatoes to peppers to pumpkins.  An eager group of citizens, as a part of the Leadership Beaver Dam group, decided to take the time and go through the process of gaining the support and approval from the city board to pursue an inevitably positive addition to the community.

The garden was featured multiple times, on the front page no less, in the local newspaper (the Daily Citizen).

October 6th, 2010:  Community Gardeners Encouraged by Successful Season

October 6th, 2010:  Annual Meeting Planned

June 16th, 2010:  Group is Leading the Way in Beaver Dam

April 30th, 2010:  Breaking New Ground:  Community Garden Kicks Off Project 

March 29th, 2010:  Community Garden Gets OK

January 29th, 2010:  Community Garden Space Sought

I will most definitely be participating in next year’s garden (on a personal note, my husband is one of the founding members pictured above….I am very proud of him and the group).  I will be keeping a “wishlist” of items I would like to plant, grown, can, preserve, and enjoy on the “Garden” tab of my blog.

On Monday, the community garden will be hosting its first annual meeting.  The meeting will be at First Lutheran Church (311 Mackie Street).  There will be a quick potluck from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. with the meeting starting thereafter.  Board members will be elected and committees will be formed to help make 2011 a great second year!  Everyone is invited to attend the meeting — those interested in joining the board or helping out with next season should attend.

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