How to shut down my veggie garden for a year?

2 years ago

I have a 40x40 vegetable garden in central Maine. It's securely fenced. The garden has mulched paths made of weed-block fabric; the rows of soil are about 18" wide. This has worked well for several years.

But I expect to have surgery--and possibly sell our home and move elsewhere--in the summer of 2018 (it's a knee replacement + we're trying to downsize due to age). I will not be able to plant seeds or seedlings, maintain them, or harvest this year.

I weeded and dug up the soil last fall, but of course new weeds are probably starting to think about sprouting right now. Some roots hide under every path, but they've been easy to control with a bit of daily effort.

I have two major aims:

1) Avoid having potential home-buyers see a horrifying weedy mess of a former garden.

2) If we stay here another year and I revive the garden, I'd like to avoid having to rip out all those paths, hire someone to till up masses of weeds, cut more weed-block fabric for paths, shovel more mulch on it, etc. (Ideally, either I or the next owner would just do some fairly light weeding and resume planting in 2019.)

Is there some sort of light-blocking plastic I could spread over the garden and weight down with rocks and bricks? Perhaps some other method?

Have any of you ever successfully skipped a year this way?

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