Could this be simpler? Mulching question
I'm starting from scratch in our yard almost everywhere. As a mom of 2 little ones, my time is somewhat limited (ha) and I go long stretches without being able to give the garden any attention whatsoever. So here's my deal:
What was in the garden when we bought the house last year, I hated and we ripped up. Since then I've been trying to prepare the bed for some fall planting (dwarf conifers and a few small JM's mostly with a few other shrubs/maybe hosta and other green stuff).
My plan of attack thus far has been--
pull weeds out by roots, set them aside, level out soil and get the biggest rocks out. Then lay down several layers of newspaper, throw the weeds back on for nutrients along with some coffee grinds, eggshells and bagged compost and a sprinkle of lime (soil test said I needed it as I have a pH of 5.4 out there), then add 3-4 inches of pine bark mulch.
I used a similar method at our old house with good results but I just threw out the weeds. After reading up on it all here and learning those weeds have valuable nutrients, I've started to add them into my mix. Other new additions are the compost and lime.. at the old house I just newspapered and mulched.
Here are my questions.
1) I keep reading this is a good method "as long as the weeds haven't gone to seed" and I have no idea what that means. How can I tell if my weeds have gone to seed? After my last few square feet of this task were completed, a month has gone by and my weeds in the remaining area are huge again. I worked on it for an hour today and am getting nervous that I'm spending all this time getting these weeds up so I can include them in my layers and fearing that once some time goes by, they will all just come up thru the mulch and all this work will be for naught. My crabgrass is huge. I pulled some large dandelions by the roots and threw them out- no white puffy part so I figure for those that must be what "gone to seed" means but I'm not taking chances with them. What does it mean for clovers and crabgrass and other random things I can't identify?
Also-- if they are still good nutrient-laden weeds that *haven't* "gone to seed"-- am I wasting time pulling them up to put them in between the newspaper and mulch layers? I read that's the best order to go in but if I left the weeds under the newspaper instead, I could omit the entire extra (long and tedious) step of pulling them up to begin with. Whew, that'd be nice as I still have a long way to go.
It's been ages since I've even been on here and just typing feels good again. Thank you in advance, gardenweb gurus!
p.s. the pic is my beginning pic, I'll post some follow-ups now