Best plan for a weed-free garden? Weed cloth and mulch?
We have two (soon to be three) 4X24 raised beds for our vegetable garden. We're hoping to eliminate weeding as much as possible. This year we are thinking about putting down a weed cloth and then covering that with mulch.
Having never done this, does this plan sound good: This spring, pin down the fabric, cut the cloth where the plants and seeds go, pin the cloth down out of the way with metal stakes where the seeds/plants go, sow seed/put plants in place, and then put down the mulch. And then in the fall, pull up the dead plants - put those in the compost bin, and then spread the mulch evenly over the beds to prevent weeds. In the spring, sweep mulch aside, pull back cloth, top dress with 1/4" compost, put cloth back down and repeat above, replenishing the mulch if necessary. Does that sound about right? Does this method make sense? Is 1/4" compost enough? Our soil in the garden is pretty good.
What is the best mulch to use? Would "AA" hardwood bark mulch be good to use? Would "A" mulch (courser) be better? A lady where we get our mulch suggested Coco Hulls. Good or bad? We have a rabbit fence around our garden, so no worries of our dog eating the hulls. How much mulch would we need to both protect the fabric and retain moisture?
Another thing, we usually put down soaker hoses. Would we want those on top of the mulch, or on top of the cloth, but under the mulch? I'm guessing on top of the mulch?
Will this plan work? Any problems with it? Thanks in advance for any and all advise/suggestions!