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Taking Back the Pathways

June 8th, 2015

Yesterday I spent an hour or so taking back the pathways in the potager. They don’t have any covering, no mulch, no gravel, nothing. I really need to add something to them, but that will have to wait until I get them widened and changed slightly. They are difficult to weed since they get packed down with all the trips I make on them. This past year I let my arugula and dill go to seed, so most of the weeds were volunteers.
weeding walkways
I’m in the process of trying to decide what surface I’d like to use on these pathways, this fall I’m hoping to have them changed and widening. I’ve been debating a few different surfaces: brick, crushed limestone, and mulch. Mulch or wood chips would be free since I can produce them myself. Brick would make for a nice hard surface and a clean one in mud season. Crushed limestone or small gravel is a surface that I really love, the sound it makes underfoot is one of my favorite things. Decisions, decisions, it’s a good thing I have a few months to decide!

What’s your favorite surface for garden pathways?

10 Comments to “Taking Back the Pathways”
  1. ann roberts on June 8, 2015 at 6:32 am

    My favorite is Roc-Kloth covered in pea gravel. I used to have to buy the Rock-Kloth over the internet but now Lowe’s is carrying the same thing, just not calling it that. And it is not all that expensive. It seems to last for years, so much better than other landscape fabrics. And pea gravel is just easy enough on the feet and doesn’t cut into the fabric. It is not the cheapest thing nor is it easy to transport and get in place. It also often needs at least 1 top dressing after a year or so, but then it is good forever. The weeds may still sometimes sprout in the gravel, but they are so easy to pull out and I think over time less of that will happen as more and more of my garden stays fairly weed free.

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  2. Chris on June 8, 2015 at 7:58 am

    I have a garden with raised beds and I use pine needles. Every year we add to it and the smell of pine is wonderful. It is nice to kneel on to weed the garden and plant.

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  3. Tiffany on June 8, 2015 at 8:45 am

    I use pine needles in my walkways. I like them better than wood chips primarily because they don’t wash away during a big rain. I also love the smell when the sun is shining.

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  4. Dee on June 8, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    I’ve tried several and crushed blue stone won, beautiful

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  5. Justin on June 8, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    I have one recommendation… If you’re going to use stone, make sure you dig down and put a non-biodegradable liner in in case you ever want to move or replace the pathways.

    The previous owners of our home got tired of mulching and put red pea stone into ALL of the flower beds on our property and they did not use any liner. Over the years, that pea stone has worked its way into the top foot or more of the beds, making them more or less unusable for anything delicate. I now have a foot of gravel and dirt mix that is difficult to plant in, difficult to turn over, difficult to move (it’s heavy), difficult to weed, and it doesn’t keep any of the weeds out. I’ve had to mulch over it. It’d cost me hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to move all the plants, have the beds mechanically dug out (I’ve tried digging them by hand), then replaced with fresh loam.

    The previous owners also had a gravel driveway going through the backyard to the barn that someone let go to lawn again (because vehicles don’t routinely go to the barn anymore). I tried to make a bed in an area where the gravel was and couldn’t even get a shovel in a few inches. Now, I have to put raised beds there. And we won’t talk about the gravel area where they had a teepee (yes, a teepee).

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  6. Misti on June 8, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    We have decomposed granite in our pathways. I just spent a ton of time getting ours up to shape. I really need to finish by the beehive but can only do that late in the evening with my bee suit on and then it gets too hard to see after awhile.

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  7. katy on June 8, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    mulch is good during the muddy season as well!

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  8. Louise on June 9, 2015 at 10:33 am

    In our new garden we currently have uncovered pants like you and I am contemplating what to use as a surface. Not long ago, before moving to a new location, I had a garden with wood chip paths with landscape fabric underneath and I would never choose this option again!!! Walking on the wood chip surface distributes the chips everywhere outside the path, weeds do grow between the chips, it is not easy to keep tidy, needs annual maintaing (new chips) as the chips disintegrate and turn to dust. As I am writing this, I am remembering all the maintenance that did come with the wood chipped covered paths, and I do have a recommendation: install a solid surface such as brick. It might take more time, effort and cost to install, but when it is done, it’s done and will require very little maintenance from there on. In your post you mention the wood chips will be free as you will make them yourself, but just because it is free does not always equal a good option when it comes to time spent on maintaining that choice. I would prefer to spent that time in the garden growing food. I hope this info is helpful. Happy gardening!

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  9. Louise on June 9, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Fixing a typo:
    “In our new garden we currently have uncovered PATHS like you and I am contemplating what to use as a surface.”

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  10. A different Chris on June 10, 2015 at 3:30 am

    Considering you live in a cold climate, I would be inclined to use bricks or pavers for the footpaths. This will increase the micro-climate to perhaps extend the growing season a little more? It will also deal with the mud aspect, and most compacted footpaths, helped along with mud, can lead to weed heaven.

    If you have the money, resources and time, I would would be inclined to pave.

    On the other hand, if you lived in a dry climate, I would recommend an organic mulch which breaks down. As it would capture and retain moisture between rain events. Any weeds which would grow, would be spindly and made easier to pull out, by keeping moisture in the ground for as along as possible.

    You don’t have a moisture problem though, its one caused by compaction, due to mud and the fact its a walkway.

    Because we live in a subtropical area, on slopes, we prefer to grow grass on our walkways, but where we have compaction problems, we use pavers and bricks.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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