Tom the Elder
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Filling walkways between raised beds

I have been trying to decide what to use to surface walkways between my raised beds. What did you use and what do you wish you had used instead? I like the look of bark but can't handle the expense of replacing it as it disintegrates. Any opinions about the imitation bark products? Thanks.

Tom

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tomf
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One thing is grass, I know a number of people who plant it and mow it.

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rainbowgardener
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Newspaper is easy to come by. Where I used to live when we had a whole bunch of raised beds with dirt paths between them, we got carpet scrap remnants and put them down, carpet side down. Worked very well and didn't need to be re-done for some years. You can get them free.
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applestar
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I started with cardboard thinly covered with commercial shredded bark mulch to smother the grass underneath. Then over time, I've piled straw, hay, weeds removed from the garden and woody garden debris like corn and soybean stalks and pea vines. Now I'm leaning toward seeding the paths with nitrogen fixing cover crop like clover, alfalfa, and vetch.

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tomf
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Some places around here use filbert shells.

DoubleDogFarm
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Tom,

What type of raised beds? Annuals, perennials. Casual or formal setting.

More information please. :)

Eric

Tom the Elder
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Eric,

Good point. The beds are for my vegetable garden - I grow both summer and winter crops. Our soil is fat clay so having some kind of pathway surfacing during the wet season is highly desirable. I can't call if formal, not with my lumber pile stacked to one side, but we have parties in our yard a couple times a year so I want it to look nice. Cost is definitely a factor so I want something long lasting. Any insights into the different materials available will be appreciated.

Tom

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microcollie
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in one of my more formal gardens, I used brick walkways between beds. It's pretty, but high maintenance (weeding) and not very comfortable to kneel on. My favorite walkways are those I planted in wooly thyme. It took some work to get a good, weed-free base, and it took time to fill in nicely, but now that it's established, it's pretty carefree (a thick, weed-smothering mat) and it's easy on the knees and feet, and it smells great to walk and kneel on. The seed was a little pricey, but I haven't had to do anything with it for years, so in the long run, it might be cheaper and easier than mulches that have to be replaced.

By the way, there are many different types of thyme...I chose wooly because it stays very short, but almost any of them take some foot traffic and grow pretty easily (although slowly) from seed.

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tomf
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Get a hold of a tree service and ask for some tree grindings. If they do not give them to you it would be cheap.

dirtyfingers
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We use broken concrete. It's cheap (free), lasts a long time and easily rearranged when needed. It also keeps feet clean when walking through a muddy garden.

Bobberman
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Since your walkway is't a garden but around the beds I would go with a stone. Pee gravel is my first selection over the clay for good drainage. Second is a attractive redish pink gravel that most places carry! it is twice the size of pee gravel! Both are easy to walk on and keep for a long time and are relativedly inexpensive and at the same time attractive looking! Pee gravel will also reflect some light back onto the bottom of the plants.no much but some. They use pee gravel on the floor of some greenhouses!. White gravel is my last choice!
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hendi_alex
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Since one of my main problems relates to competition with oak roots, my raised beds are not in contact with the soil. I placed one set of beds on concrete, placed another set on thick rubber matting, and placed another set on landscape fabric. Needless to say, in my situation weeds in the walkway are not a problem, though I do place pine straw or other mulch material to make the area more attractive.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
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Jeramie
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we used slate rock came out pretty nice

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DustonMcGroarty
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I like Tomf's suggestion to use grass. Throw a layer of good topsoil down first and then some seed.

We had about four or five large raised beds in our backyard at a previous house and we put grass paths in between them. It really cleans it up and gives it a crisper image.

I think the right stone could look good as well but may cost more.

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