Garden Mats

hartford(PA 5)November 19, 2012

I'm starting to plan my garden for next year. This year I used plastic mulch and really wasn't to happy with it. I been looking at these Garden Mats

http://gardenmats.com/home_gardener.php

Does anybody have any experience with them?

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hartford(PA 5)

This was my first garden and everything came up great. But I had a lot of weeds in between the rows of plastic mulch. Also it seemed like I had the water a lot more with the plastic. If I use the plastic again I will definitely be putting something in between the rows. Here is a picture of this years garden with the plastic mulch.

Next years garden is going to be triple the size of this one. So I'm looking for something that would save me some time weeding like the garden mats or any other suggestions.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 6:55PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

We used dry grass clippings from the yard. They work great and they are free! We don't fertilize or spray our grass. Nice garden for a first timer!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 7:58PM
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hartford(PA 5)

Thanks Zackey.
I was real happy with the amount and quality of the vegetables the garden produced. Just wasn't thrilled with the weeds. The plastic did a good job keeping the weeds away from the plants. I was just looking for a easier way..lol The plastic isn't to hard to put down. I just thought something like that garden mat might be easier since the garden is going to be much bigger next year.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 8:34PM
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planatus(6)

Never heard of garden mats, but the information at the website is persuasive. I may try a couple for really hard to weed crops like onions. It would be quite an investment but I do think the stuff would last the 7 years they claim. I have a piece of black geotextile in one of my row pathways that we pick up and flip every year. It's been getting tromped on for at least five years, and is still intact.

There is also a simple, satisfying elegance to using precision hoes. Do you have a shuffle hoe (horseshoe hoe), winged weeder (sharp triangle hoe) and a cobrahead? When it comes to weed control, great tools make all the difference.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 8:11AM
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brit_n_rick(8b -- East Texas)

We have always used hay / straw to mulch our garden and it works great. It will allow water to get down to the plants - but keeps weeds at bay. If weeds do start to come up - then you just put down a little more hay. For pathways - you can put down a layer of cardboard and then mulch that with hay also. The hay will keep the pathways from getting really muddy too. As far as watering - We use T-tape which is sold in large rolls. We put the irrigation tape over all our garden beds, plants our seedlings, then mulch it all with hay. Water goes directly to the seedling and not the areas in between so weeds are not watered. We also have a timer connected to the water hose so the garden gets watered automatically. (This helps a lot when we go out of town.) It's a really easy system - totally takes the "work" out of gardening. We don't actually weed much at all and our plants are super healthy.

The costs are a little upfront - for the dripline but well-worth it. It will save you lots of money on your water bill and the ttape lasts for several years. And the hay will break down. You can put it in your compost bin or just leave it on the beds to suppress weeds for next year.

Good looking garden! Best of luck for next year!

Here is a link that might be useful: T-Tape

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 9:16AM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Don't know what T-tape is(I'll have to look into it), but you can also get the soaker hoses for fairly cheap. That would work under the plastic mulch! Nancy

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 8:51PM
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optimistique(8a)

Honestly, I have found a thick layer of leaves to be the best mulch. You can drive around and pick up bags for free (you may get some bags of sticks here and there).

For the walking spaces, you could till every few days to keep weeds from rooting.

The cons to the leaves are that they make a nice bed for snakes. We only have small, harmless, grass snakes...not a big deal. You look like you may live somewhere where snakes may be more of a concern.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 12:57PM
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hartford(PA 5)

I thought about just using the plastic mulch again and put grass clippings in between the rows. The plastic mulch isn't the easiest stuff to put down.
The garden mats just seem like it would be the easiest solution. Lay them down and plant. I'm not concerned about the initial cost for the mats because this is a hobby for me. I spend a lot more on my other hobbies...lol
I saw the TV commercial back in June on the mats and probably would of went with them but I already had the plastic down. I was hoping someone had some experience with them.
I like the idea of the soaker hose under the mats. With the plastic I had to make the holes bigger as the plants grew to water them better. I think I will bite the bullet and order them. I will post some pictures next year when I get them down.
Thank you for the comments!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 3:11PM
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hartford(PA 5)

Here is a picture of the garden mats.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 3:16PM
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hartford(PA 5)

The picture is from their website not my garden. I wish there was an edit button this forum!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 3:20PM
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jolj(7b/8a)

I use grass clippings from my 10 acre lot, pine straw from the tree on the same lot. I use other peoples leaves(OPL), they are free & bagged on the curb. I use Burlap bags too.
Never use plastic to stop weeds, only to kill off grass Before planting.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2012 at 6:56PM
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hartford(PA 5)

Doesn't grass clippings and leaves bring in more insects and weeds to the garden?

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 9:26AM
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gardenmats

I am the owner, inventor of Garden Mats. The pic you saw earlier of the green mats is indeed from our website. All the pics on our website are from our gardens or our customers. Like the one posted here. The other pics with the red, white and blue plastic coverings are not our mats. I suspect they are regular poly, not a woven poly fabric. Regular plastic has no UV protection and they do not let air and water through -- I used the same material for a long time, before I came up with the idea for Garden Mats. I could not fathom bringing all that plastic to the landfill every fall. That's why I insist that Garden Mats will last up to ten years.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 9:26AM
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hartford(PA 5)

Gardenmats thanks for posting.
Do you recommend putting soaker lines under the mats?

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 9:34AM
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hartford(PA 5)

Also how well do the mats drain water?

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 9:45AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I don't know about grass clippings bringing in more insects, but no weeds will grow through the grass if the depth is at least 3 inches.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 5:22PM
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hartford(PA 5)

Ok thought I would update this thread I started last year.

I went ahead and bought the Garden Mats for this years garden. I also made the garden much bigger this year. Its 40' X 30'
One thing I should of done is hired a guy with a bobcat to take up the sod! Took me around 3 days to get it all up.

I went ahead and put drip lines under the mats. It will be much easier watering this year.

I also put down some landscape fabric around the edges of the mats that will be covered with grass clippings. I'm looking for a no weed garden this year!




I just finished putting up the fence around the garden used 3 ft black netting I really don't have any deer problems just my Black Lab likes to eat the peppers and tomatoes

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 10:45AM
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amy_of_pnw

I will be looking for pics of your garden mats and plants through the season.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 7:11AM
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hartford(PA 5)

Thanks Amy.

Just finished up planting everything. Started most of my plants in my Harbor Freight Green House I put up this year.

I still have to stake the Tomatoes and put the grass mulch around the eadge of the garden.
Planted
Peppers (6 different types)
Green Beans (3 varieties)
Peas (Snap and Bush)
Lettuce (2 varieties)
Onions (2 varieties)
Radishes
Egg Plant
Broccoli
Cucumbers
Zucchini
Yellow Squash
Tomatoes (Oxheart,Kosovo,Grape,and a few different varieties)

Here are a few pics.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 11:07AM
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hartford(PA 5)

Update on the garden...
So far I love the garden mats! Had a problem with to much rain and had to replant the bean seeds. Here is a few pics.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 4:47PM
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hartford(PA 5)

Getting warmer here in NEPA. Just started my seedlings in my greenhouse hopefully the temps stay above freezing at night.
The mats are like new still after one season cant wait to till and put them down again.
I will be posting picks of my progress this year :)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 4:43PM
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lucillle

The garden mats look nice but I wouldn't use them. For the actual garden area, I like organic mulches of various kinds which work to replenish the soil.
Maybe if cost was no object and in the off season I could have truckloads of compost brought in it might be workable, but cost IS a factor and by mulching with organic material I keep the garden sustainable from one year to the next.
Please understand that if these mats make you happy that is what counts, but each of us gardens in his or her own way, and they are not for me.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 5:15PM
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hartford(PA 5)

Lucille I agree the mats are not for everyone. In my area you can get truck loads of aged horse and cow manure for free all you need is a pickup truck. This year I'm putting a little more time preparing the soil.

I love the mats because I really don't have the time to keep the garden weed free all summer with my job and kids. The mats makes it much easier to have a nice and good producing garden without as much work.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 4:04PM
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Deeby

What beautiful country ! With a job and kids I can see how the mats would help produce good food and reduce your work load too.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 4:39PM
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hartford(PA 5)

Thanks Deeby I do love where I live....except for the winter weather !

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 6:28PM
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cscruton

Thread revival.

There is a new product coming to market in February 2015. They are being called 'mulch mats', and are made from industrial hemp. They compete with petroleum-based weed block. They're an all-natural, biodegradable solution, combining the benefits of natural mulch with the convenience of mats.

There isn't much info on their website except for the product announcement. http://www.woven-earth.com

Full disclosure: I work for Woven Earth, the sellers of the mats. I'm happy to answer any questions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Woven Earth homepage

    Bookmark   December 27, 2014 at 5:08PM
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BrinksFarm

Thread bump

Any updates on how it went through the season with gardenmats? Yields, weed time, etc?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2015 at 1:21PM
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