Newspaper Down, Seeds In, Crops UP!

Farming and gardening this year has come with many challenges. Michigan has been taking her sweet time getting into spring, which means we are behind at least three weeks from where we were last year… but she has actually given me quite a blessing. I need to be reminded to slow down and give my attention where it’s most needed… instead of being anxious about where I’m not able to give my attention. For example: we’ve been working on getting our well pump modified with a bladder so we aren’t using a ton of energy to water our garden. This is really important- so no need to get so anxious about things I can’t control. Besides…the garden is looking amazing so far. My “go with the flow” change of attitude has really made it easier to see my accomplishments instead of getting so worked up about what I can’t control. (I’ll share that part of my journey with you down the road.)

Now that things are picking up I couldn’t be more excited for our virtually no weeding garden.

This year we are utilizing newspaper given to us by friends for weed mitigation. (yay, Zero Waste win!) It also saves me so much time with weeding! And I mean…who doesn’t love that?! My dad also gave us a huge pile of mulch from the tree service work he does…it’s not the perfect mulch you get in bags at the store, but it’s so wonderful to boarder the garden for more weed mitigation around the edges of our gardens. (Zero waste win AGAIN! THANKS DAD!!!)

We have tons of room so we go with rows. We’ve tried sectioning things off into chunks and it always ends up better if we do long rows with plenty of room to get the rototiller in between.

Gardening has given me many opportunities to learn. One of the most important lessons is tools. The hoe is no joke! And my favorite tool. Using a hoe is the best way to make our rows. That duder can also handle some whacking of weeds, I tell you WHut.

To make our rows (mostly) straight we use a two poles and rope. We actually have one end that has a spool courtesy of George. (If I ever refer to George or George Provides it is in reference to the previous owner of our home who passed away. When we bought this house a lot of different items were left- gardening tools, our chicken coop, books, wood, etc…)

It’s straight…ish You can see the mulch my dad gave us. So helpful!

Nate and I tag team our rows starting at either end and work our way to the opposite side, hoeing dirt up into mounds. I’ve tried this alone- it’s backbreaking work if you go at a proper speed. I’m so blessed to have a partner on this journey of life!

After our rows are up in each section we start laying newspaper down in double layers, overlapping the ends slightly.

Perfection is not necessary

When we researched the newspaper method it was recommend to use three layers. We decided to see how two went to save on paper- the results are outstanding thus far.


For ease of covering the edges of the newspaper we wet them down as we went. (Usually ends up with me spraying Nate while he lays paper down…just for giggles.)

Team work!

After they are nice and matted down we went at the edges with my favorite tool again. This way the wind doesn’t send paper flying.

Yes, it’s a vinegar bottle. No, it doesn’t have vodka in it. My girl, Chelsea Z, thought me to reduce my waste by reusing my vinegar bottles for water. GENIUS!…You’ll see my bottles around in photos- I bring water wherever I go.

As Nate started getting his compost in the wheelbarrow, I started laying seeds down. I always crack myself up with seeds…I would rather throw them in the air all willy nilly and see what happens. I’m the same way with love. I kinda just love on everyone and see what happens. If you meet me in person I’m gonna hug you. I like to get that barrier out of the way. Sometimes I make people uncomfortable at first…but it’s amazing what can happen when you start a relationship with a hug.
…ANYWAYS! Back to the garden….
I also crack myself up because I end up forgetting which seed I planted where…I really should listen to my hubby when he says to somehow mark which row has what in it. I really should. I don’t. I’ll just wing it. I”m sure I have a few sunflowers and corns together. Eh. It’s supposed to be three sisters (corn, pole beans and pumpkins) planting anyways. No biggy! …yet I’m sure this could be another learning opportunity for me.

Pumpkin seedling

I’m so excited to see the newspaper method working so perfectly. This is exactly what I was hoping to see. You can see weeds popping up in the rows- those will be tilled again.

Corns!

This method is a lot of work upfront, but I could not be happier about going through this whole summer without having to weed…or trying to find seedlings and not being sure if I’m pulling a weed or my crops!!

I finally completed our last section. I looked at what we have left for newspaper and we barley touched it! We have newspaper for at least two more seasons. If you need a newspaper hook-up, let me know because I know my dealer has some waiting. (tee-hee)

My little slice of heaven

I pray you are enjoying your little world by making it better everyday, and working hard to better yourself. Every. Single. Day. And I pray that if you aren’t, you will try. I love you all so much!

Peace,
Jamma

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