And weeds, in the veggie-garden paths, have been a perennial bugbear forever.
A year or so ago I had an inspiration for "dealing" with the pathway weeds. A method that differs quite radically from Patrick's strategy, approaching the problem from an entirely different angle. But, in fairness, our circumstances and constraints are completely different. I am not working in a community garden, so I don't have to deal with common pathways, nor with rules about how I may run my garden! Nobody comes to give me dirty looks if I neglect the weeding of pathways!
Nor are my pathways gravelled. I shudder at the thought, since I am wont to wander about the place in my bare feet (and, frequently, barefoot in my head, too) and gravel is - along with stone chips - one of the nastiest, most barefoot-unfriendly things you can do to the world. Don't.
I freely admit that I had not thought much of my solution to the weed-in-path problem, until Patrick's post made me re-look at it and realise that, perhaps, it is quite a novel idea for some people.
For years I fought the weeds. Sans gravel, this was mostly achieved with a conventional push-hoe, and took me about 15 minutes per pathway. But sometimes it got neglected, and then it ended up taking a bit longer. Especially in Winter, when the Winter grasses take hold with their strong, tough, bushy roots. Then it takes quite a lot more energy. Until my epiphany...
|Pennyroyal clumps planted into newly-weeded|
pathway. Clumps derive from the bits weeded
out of veggie beds. The whole process is a little
slow to start with, but that's the nature of all
exponential growth systems!
So, for the past year or so, I've been planting and expanding Pennyroyal as my preferred Pathway Plant Of Choice. It mostly keeps the weeds out once established. It grows fairly slowly and is shallow-rooted, so the bits that do grow into the veggie beds themselves are easily sliced out with the spade. It smells great as you walk around the garden, and it's kind to bare feet!
The only downside of Pennyroyal Pathways that I've come across is that, when the Pennyroyal wants to flower, it grows loads of long tendrilly flower-stalks, and the leaf-mat tends to become a bit sparse and thin. This is not a big deal for me, since the rest of the year it presents a dense, and above all weed-resistant, pathway covering.