Thursday, June 9, 2016

Growing Home, Part 4: Outfitting Your Fresh Flower Bed

On this go-round with Growing Home, we are off to the store to find some supplies to outfit our freshly cleaned out flower beds. We removed the invasive plants, pulled weeds, and got our rain barrel ready for the area. Now, we need to till the area, put down some top soil, and keep those weeds from coming back to our area. We would like to do this as sustainably as possible while remaining on a budget. So, let’s go shopping!

We found that for our first step, we would need a tiller. We looked at these options:

  1. A gas powered tiller
  2. An electric tiller 
  3. A three tong, rototiller
  4. A stand up garden tiller
We want to use sustainable practices, so the gas tiller was out immediately. Frankly, this would have been over-kill for our area, anyway. If we did need a level of power, we could have gone with the electric tiller. However, given that we have such a small area, stamina and power weren’t really big deals for us. With that, we eliminated the electric tiller. We were then left with the two manual options. We didn’t feel the rototiller would really get as deep as we wanted. If felt a little flimsy, and we wanted to do it right the first time. We ultimately went with the stand up garden tiller, and we happily got a shoulder work-out while using it! We were also quite pleased with the extra cash this decision left in our wallets. The electric and gas options were priced well above our budgets at $140 for the electric and $300 for the gas model. It really does PAY to use sustainable practices!

While at the store, we needed to get some soil and find a way to prevent weeds from returning, naturally. We chose an organic topsoil to avoid any amounts of inorganic chemicals in the soil. The price difference was about $1/cubic foot of soil, but with what we saved on a tiller, this was pennies in the bucket for peace of mind.

We looked at several versions of weed control. We had the options of burlap, weed control fabric, and a corn-based natural block. The burlap offered a bit too much room for tiny weeds to grow through it, and the fabric option didn’t offer us the sustainable manufacturing we desired. The corn-based weed blocker seemed right for us, and that’s what we chose. That said, anything would have been better than chemical sprays. 

 Next time, we’ll look at the implementation and what we’ll plant in this area!