Would you like to have a low-maintenance garden with no tilling each spring, very few weeds to spend hours pulling, and growing beds that only need a topping with compost to be ready to plant?
Building the Rows
If you said yes to a low maintenance garden, then you are in for a treat. Instead of tilling this spring, start building your raised row garden by determining how much garden you need. Typical rows are 18 inches wide by whatever length you want, usually 10-20 ft long.
Start building up your rows by putting down 10-20 sheets of newspaper 18-20 inches wide and wet it down.
Layering the Material
On top of the newspaper, start adding green and brown materials with a layer of soil on each layer. You can use shredded paper, grass clippings, old straw, coffee grounds, well-aged manure or any organic material that will break down over time. Wet down everything as you add your layers. Top with a layer of soil and compost mixed together. Your rows should be 18-24 inches high as they will shrink as the materials breaks down.
Now after you remove all the weeds for the last time, cover your pathways with a thick layer of straw. This helps prevent new weeds from taking hold. You may have to pull a few weeds for the first year or two, but as the straw breaks down and forms a mat (you’ll add more as needed) the weeds won’t be able to find soil.
After planting your vegetables, mulch all your raised rows with a good deep layer of straw and water in well. Never walk on your raised rows as you don’t want to compact the soil or step on the roots.
Walk through your garden just 15 minutes a day looking at your plants and scouting for and pulling any stray weeds that had the gall to grow in your low maintenance garden. It will be well worth the stroll through the garden to enjoy your efforts and head off any problems.
For an excellent planting plan and more information on the raised row garden, check out https://oldworldgardenfarms.com/2012/11/27/preparing-and-planting-the-raised-row-bed-garden