Week 8: Edging Gardens for Weeds / Preparation of New Garden

Edging Your Garden for Weeds

This week I am going to share what I do. There are many ways to edge a garden, however I like the way I show in the video and explain here. Check out the video by clicking on the triangle play button.

I simply just pull the dirt away from the edge of the garden, clean up any weeds/grass that might have inched in, but a layer of cardboard in about 6-8 inches down, and back-fill it again. Why do I do it this way?

Firstly, I’m constantly changing the shapes of my garden, so I don’t want anything permanent. In the video you can see I’m adding about 20 square feet to my fall garden. Had I put something more permanent, I would not be able to add more garden without deconstructing the previous garden.

Secondly, I don’t really like raised beds. That is a preference. We have a big yard and lots of grass, so one less thing I have to edge, great! Also,  as I’m always making my gardens bigger, it would mean more garden boxes, or rebuilding them. I also find that they need more watering, and it is more challenging to keep worms in the soil to keep the soil in a as natural healthy state as it can. Again, just a preference.

I did try lining it once with the cloth garden liner that says it should last 5 years and keep weeds out for that amount of time. Weeds were growing through in the first year, and it got lost in the edge. It wraps around the tiller, and it has taken (so far) about 6 years of finding pieces of it to get out of the garden.

So, that brings me to cardboard. Well, its free and you are reusing through repurposing something!!! We collect cardboard boxes throughout the year for this purpose. We try to save the cardboard that doesn’t not have much colour on it for chemical reasons, and biodegradable reasons. Once your garden is lined with it, it will slow down the weeds during the time of year where they really encroach on your garden… June/July… and then slowly disintegrate into the ground.

My neighbour Harriet also using a repurpose technique with old mill-felt. It is very hard to come by around here now, but it works great. She has a ditch around her garden about a foot deep and has the ditch lined with mill-felt. It is more effective than cardboard for sure. If I ever come across a large stash of it, I will certainly grab it and edge my gardens that way!


Ok, so the video just shows me making my garden bigger, but here are some tips to help keep the grass and weeds from growing back. You can just put a raised garden over grass and hope for the best, however, if the garden is open at the bottom, the grass will eventually work its way up. You may end up with a raised grass bed.

1.) turn all the grass chunks upside down to kill off roots, dry them out (or use them as sod!)

2.) shake the dirt from the dried chunks into the garden, and then toss grass into course compost

3.) cover the new garden with a tarp for a few days in HOT weather to kill off weeds/roots/grass

4.) turn the soil and take out every little weed or weed chunk you see (even the root little chunks can grow into a new weed!)

5.) if you can, add a 4-6 inch layer of well composted manure, 1/2 cup epsom salts, 1 cup bone mean, and 1/4 cup blood meal for 10 square feet, and some compost if you have some

6.) till all together

7.) line your garden edge if you want to keep weeds out for awhile

8.) plant your garden (after the last frost!!!!)