Friday, August 28

Expanding the Garden, One Newspaper At a Time

When the garden bordering the front walkway started growing into the lawn I had to make a choice; cut back or expand. I chose to expand one newspaper width to give the plants room to grow.

I gathered my supplies and placed them on a tarp close to the garden: newspapers, grass clippings, peat moss, compost and chopped leaves. I didn't have to mark out a new space but just follow along the existing garden. I covered the space with newspapers, overlapping the ends so no light could get through, and covered the papers with peat moss. I watered between layers keeping the organic material like a squeezed sponge. Then I rested.

The next alternate layers consisted of grass clippings, chopped leaves, compost and more peat moss. Once I had about twelve inches of material I pulled them back and inserted plants. I added a light mulch of pine needles and gave the new garden additional light watering.

The plant roots sit right on the wet newspaper. Once you pull the 12 inches of layers around the roots they are nestled in what amounts to compost. The layered compost has a gentle warmth and the roots get off to a great start. During this time it is important to keep the layers watered.

I bought sale plants and used three flats of eight inch pots in my new garden extension. I placed them about four inches apart, staggering them in the bed. Once the plants are established they will form a solid border of color around the existing bed. The slight rise to the new bed will disappear once the layers decompose. In just a short time the border will all be the same height.

Once you decide where you want a new garden or an expansion of an existing garden, collect the material you will need and begin laying down newspaper and layers. If you have plants ready the new garden can be completed in a very short time.

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