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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Best Material for Paths? Toplef10Best Material for Paths? 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Best Material for Paths? I22gcj10Best Material for Paths? 14dhcg10

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Best Material for Paths?

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Glendale-gardener
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Post  jsavolt 3/28/2011, 7:13 pm

I'm wanting to replace my mulch between boxes with another material. I would like to hear what others are using and if you like it. I would love to do the stamped concrete that I have seen here but not sure of the cost. My square foot garden area is large and don't think that would be doable for me. Is there anything easier and less expensive?
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Post  boffer 3/28/2011, 7:24 pm

In my area, stamped concrete is, a BIG ballpark average, $10 per sf. If you can pour a plain jane sidewalk yourself, there are ways to get the costs way down. Again if you are a DIYer, you can use the molds sold at HD and Lowes that you throw a sack of pre-mix into. If you search around for members Josh or Theresa you may find pictures of what I'm talking about in their gardens. The same stuff can be colored too. For plain jane, you're looking at, a BIG ballpark figure, $1 per sf. If you get into gravel, stones, rocks, etc. your best products and prices are what you're going to find locally. Different areas around the country have 'stuff' in the ground that is common, normal, and unheard of 1000 miles away!
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 3/28/2011, 7:51 pm

I'm headed for mulch territory with stepping stones laid in. I am a huge "free" guy when I can find it, and my community has a "dump" where the public works apparently drops their tree cuttings. I just pull in there and take what I need. I don't do my beds with the stuff, but I have some square footage to cover now. Heck, the sign even says....Free Mulch!

I say....OK.
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Post  Old Hippie 3/28/2011, 8:45 pm

I am all into cheap and free is even better. What can you expect from an old hippie who was raised dirt poor? LOL! I am lazy to boot and it has never made any sense to me to till the pathways and weed them if you don't have to. If I can keep the weeds down in the pathways, it keeps the weed seeds from blowing into my boxes.

The pathways between my garden squares are mulched with wood shavings that I get for free from a couple of custom mill work shops down the street from where I work. I just drop off bags to them and they bag up their planer chips for me. We get lots of cardboard at the paint store where I work. The inks are soy based. After removing any tape or staples from the boxes I put down a layer of cardboard and then cover it all with a nice thick layer of wood chips. Then I give it a bit of a soak with the sprinkler to keep the neighbours cat from using it as her personal litter box and to keep the wind from blowing it away. After a few days it is all nicely packed down. It usually lasts the whole summer, sometimes two. When it gets kind of worn out, I just throw it in the compost heap and start over. Easy peasey and FREE!

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Post  Megan 3/28/2011, 8:53 pm

Very nice, Gwynn! Do you have problems with rolly pollies (sp?) in the wood chips? I had a lot of them in bark mulch last year, was not happy about that.
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Post  Old Hippie 3/28/2011, 9:00 pm

By rollie pollies, do you mean pill bugs?

So far I haven't had any problem with bugs in it other than ants the first year. But we have a lot of them all over.

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Post  Megan 3/28/2011, 9:02 pm

Yes. Pill bugs / sow bugs.
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Post  miinva 3/28/2011, 10:31 pm

I didn't know pillbugs would damage plants.
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Post  Megan 3/28/2011, 10:41 pm

@miinva wrote:I didn't know pillbugs would damage plants.

I didn't either, miinva, until last year.

I was using nylon stocking footies as ties on my squash plants. Very low to the ground, I found a tie that was soaking wet and there was a squash vine kinked over it. I think the weight of the vine had dragged it down. Anyway, I found a whole mess of rolly pollies in between the footie fabric and the vine itself and they were chewing away at the vine which I guess had succumbed to some rot there. There was definite damage to the vine. I removed the tie, crushed the pillbugs... I don't remember whether I removed the rest of the vine or not not, to be honest, but after that I did not see any further damage. So, I think it was a combination of low to the ground, damp, and maybe some rot already started where the vine had kinked. The rampicante was growing so wildly that I missed the incipient problem. It's been long enough that I don't remember what tipped me off. Maybe I just leaned down to get a good look, or maybe the color of the pillbugs gathered under the nylon got my attention.
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Post  miinva 3/28/2011, 11:19 pm

I haven't seen them around the garden much, so I never thought about it. I wonder if they eat things that are decomposing, so the bit of rot attracted them, as opposed to them actively eating the squash vine? I'll google it Smile
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Post  Glendale-gardener 3/28/2011, 11:49 pm

My son has a book about pill bugs that we read a lot! Apparently they are scavengers. They eat almost anything but mostly dead plants, dead bugs, leftover food, newspapers, and cardboard. They literally eat every moment they are awake and poop simultaneously. Interestingly, they also have to eat small bits of stones and concrete(which is why they only live near people and sidewalks etc...)

They may have been attracted to the rotted material or even the cardboard.

In the book it suggests that you can have one as a "guest" for a while in your house by putting some soil and a couple of leaves and a little piece of concrete in a jar and just to mist him with water every once in a while, making sure to put him back outside in the fall so he can dig himself underground for winter. My son has not insisted on doing this...yet.
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Post  miinva 3/29/2011, 10:53 am

Wow, cool! Thank you for sharing Smile My son is also fascinated by pill bugs, but I didn't know there was an entire book dedicated to them *giggle*
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Post  Glendale-gardener 3/30/2011, 8:56 pm

Here is the book: http://www.amazon.com/Im-Pill-Bug-Nature-Childs/dp/1929132956

It's a really good kids book, we got it at a school sale. The first time I read it to my son, I ended up going downstairs and telling my husband everything I had just learned about pill bugs! That is one of my favorite kinds to read to them-informative without feeling like school!
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 3/30/2011, 9:16 pm

A number of years ago, when we were using raised-bed rows, we had just torn out old carpeting. I took the old carpeting and cut it into strips to fit between the rows, placed it pile-side down, and covered it with a layer of straw. Clean, free, good for a couple of years, and straw was good for the compost pile. Disadvantages: In Oregon we have lots of slugs, slugs LOVE to live under carpeting. You've been warned.
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Post  ashort 3/30/2011, 10:01 pm

My plan is to put flagstone around the beds... two inches or rock, two inches of decomposed granite, sand and then flagstone laid in and seams filled with sand... I am thinking it will be arizona style with a pink and orange hues...
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Post  Old Hippie 4/4/2011, 12:41 pm

That is going to look fantastic. "Eventually" that is the kind of thing I want to do as well, but for now, I am having to make do. Partly because my mantra is "why buy new when you can get it for free" and partly because time to restructure the whole layout of the yard is in short supply. For now, I am working with what is available in terms of time AND materials.

Gwynn
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Post  FarmerValerie 4/4/2011, 12:45 pm

@ashort wrote:My plan is to put flagstone around the beds... two inches or rock, two inches of decomposed granite, sand and then flagstone laid in and seams filled with sand... I am thinking it will be arizona style with a pink and orange hues...

You could add yellow too, and opt for a Tex-Mex theme. Love me some Tex-Mex food.
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Post  Barkie 4/4/2011, 1:21 pm

@Megan wrote:Yes. Pill bugs / sow bugs.

Woodlice over the pond here. They like damp but not cold and eat/damage young plants. Some sacrificial planting for them maybe?
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