If you haven’t already – it’s time to time to get your plants in the ground! Memorial day is usually the time that you can safely plant your flowers and veggies in Michigan without there being a problem. Whether you till your yard, like we did, or dig out a garden area you’re going to need a weed barrier. This year we’re trying something new, in the past we’ve used newspaper weed barriers and cardboard weed barriers. But this year, we were told to try coffee bean bags – ya know the old burlap bags.
So why use burlap bags? Coffee bean bags, or rice bags – are usually made of jute. Jute is a natural fabric made from a grass, it will help block the weeds from getting out, and help keep water in. Over time, since it’s from a natural product, jute will break down and recycle into your soil.
Where to find burlap bags? Check with your local coffee houses and see if they have any. Some may and may even give them to you for free. Larger chains wont have them unfortunately, so check your smaller coffee houses. If not you may be able to find them online or at food distributors. If you’re in Metro Detroit, check down at Eastern Market. I found mine for only $1 each! They’re also great for making outdoor pillows for your patio- but we’ll cover that on another day.
Coffee Bean bags are HUGE, like big enough you can do a bag race in them. I’m not sure if people still do them, but they could with these (and probably should!) So the first step for me is to slice the bag open down each side. This means I can lay them out end to end, and they cover around 6 feet of space and over 2 feet wide. I place our bags over our freshly tilled soil down flat. You will need a box cutter in order to do this, jute is a strong fabric!
Once your bags are laid down, figure out the spacing of your plants. Simply cut a slice where you want your new plant to go. Be sure to make the slice big enough for your hand shovel to go through. Clear away any roots and dig a spot. Be sure your plant is well set in the hole and continue until all of your plants are in their new spaces.
Once all of your plants are in, cover the burlap with mulch and water your new plants! Not only will you end up with a beautiful garden space, you can use the bags as a guideline of where to space your plants for even layout.
Coffee bags are super easy to find from restaurants and coffee houses – don’t pay the expensive prices people charge on Craigslist or other sites. And compared to the cost of a roll of weed barrier that wont last, and wont feed your soil – they’re a steal!