Down the Garden Path

My vegetable garden has issues — mostly deriving from its past life as a greenhouse.  While the old foundation makes a nice wall, it does not make a comfortable bench.  Also, whomever originally built the greenhouse decided that the door should not be centered along the end wall, making one bed just a trifle too wide for comfort.

Those are architectural issues, though, and add to the garden’s quirkiness.  My problem is the path itself.  Some people have nicely groomed trails through their gardens.  I have a lane of weeds.  At one point, they were all weeded out, but the buttercup and dandelions came back.  Next, I tried weeding the path and then smothering it with straw.  In the picture below, you can see the remains of that experiment.  You can also see that the buttercups and dandelions came back yet again.  This year, I decided not to fight it and the weeds are definitely happy, but I am not.

My garden path in all its weedy glory.

Elliot Coleman suggests planting white clover in the garden paths.  Does anybody have any experience with that?  I know it can withstand being walked upon, but will it end up invading the vegetable beds, or is it fairly content to stay put?

At this point, I am desperate enough to try almost anything, but am leery about introducing another potential weed into the mix.  Any advice would be much appreciated.

Check out more Tribulations of the Thirteenth, and if you have a blog, feel free to join the linking party.

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14 Responses to Down the Garden Path

  1. Jerre says:

    Anthea put down double weed cloth and tamped down 3/8-inch crushed rock, but she has boxes for hard edges. Her garden is magazine-perfect.

    Aesthetically, what if you made your path an angle, heading right from the front in your pix and then angling back toward the door? I think clover could be invasive unless you put in curbing or edges.

    • Sarah Sarah says:

      Mom, we have been digging out weed cloth, and plastic that was used instead of weed cloth, since we moved here. If there is anything we WON’T do, it is add more of that. Even Alan hates it, and he usually isn’t the one to deal with it.

  2. Jerre says:

    I’m not happy with my paths either. The grass is always too long and needs to be sprayed out along the boxes or constantly weed-eaten. And it’s gotten ditchy down the middle.

  3. Great post and thanks for cross-linking to September’s Thirteenth Tribulations at Garden Musings! I don’t have any advice or experience on the white clover…here it would just dry up in the drought. My paths are all dead grass at present.

  4. Nancy says:

    You could put down 10 to 12 layers of newspaper and then gravel or mulch. Or you could plant creeping thyme. Wonderful plant , cold hardy , blooms pink in the spring and smells wonderful when you walk on it !

  5. tori says:

    clover is the bane of my existence. red and white, invading my entire garden. i want to burn it all. i tried straw one year, too. and it grew.

    next year, i’m going to use either cardboard or butcher paper. first, i’m going to blacktarp the entire thing in an effort to kill the clover.

    • Sarah Sarah says:

      My straw sprouted this year as well. I use it over my potatoes instead of hilling them, and I must have got a seedy bale. The roots are so shallow, though, that it’s easy enough to pull out and doesn’t bug me that much.

  6. Jeanette says:

    Thanks for your comment on my site. We had rain in Texas yesterday. The sqeaky complainer gets some rain. Yea!
    Nancy’s idea about the thyme sound like a great alternative. I have purple ruffled basil that throws seeds and in the spring I have 100’s of seedlings in my lawn. When we walk or mow it smells great but they usually die back after a few mowings. Good luck.

    • Sarah Sarah says:

      I have not had any luck with basil so far. This year, I let my few survivors go to seed in hopes that they will do better if they propagate themselves. I’m hoping it’s a brilliant plan instead of wasting what little basil I could have harvested.

      I might look into the creeping thyme. I’ve heard about it, of course, but about all I know is that it is different from French thyme.

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