Instructables
Picture of Grow a Garden Mat
The picture is of my beat up garden shed mat. It is on its last leg. I thought it would be fun to grow a garden mat.
This is a work in progress. Plants grow at their own speed. This is at least a season and more like two or three season summer project. If you are willing to invest the time the result so far looks very promising 
 
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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools
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Nature is doing the heavy lifting so virtually everything is from the earth. 

Materials:
One Wheel barrel or other suitable shaped container
A weed or plant with very prolific roots 
Moss or some other decorative material

Tools:
The sun
Dirt
A heat gun or other heat source
Time, lots of it

Step 2: Creeping Charlie

Picture of Creeping Charlie
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Every year I deal with mounds of creeping charlie. A common weed in Chicago. This project sort of came about by accident. I had prepared the wheel barrel with holes for drainage and filled it with dirt.  I planted herb seeds but creeping charlie took over. The next season (this one) I was annoyed and didn't feel like weeding so I tried flipping the dirt. The whole thing flipped as a sheet exposing a dense mat like root structure. I am now letting the other side grow over. Consult your local botanical garden for advice. The Chicago botanical garden was very encouraging.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glechoma_hederacea


Step 3: Drying

I plan on doing this later this summer. I usually dry my tea on non windy days outsides on sheets.  I plan on using a heat gun to dry after sun drying. I have some smaller samples but I am not 100% sure how this will go. If this does not work I may look at the oven or an outdoor fire as a way of further removing water from the mat.
tim_n1 year ago
it's an interesting sounding project, but I believe you're going to come across some hurdles. Most of the weed roots which grow so thick, are just filled with water and are generally easy to break due to the lack of useable fibers. The reason many of these types of weeds do this is because broken sections of their roots or stems can propagate a new plant.

There are much more woody stemmed plants such as the common nettle. This is used in string making and is ideal for making hard wearing fabrics and potentially something as complex as a mat.

Processing of nettles requires you to deleaf, bash the stems and manually separate the fibers. You can then manually spin the fibers into string. The string can then be strung to make rope. The rope can be plated for a mat.

To make a large mat would take a lot of nettles. It's the same principle used in hemp or bamboo fibers.

Good luck, I'd like to be proven wrong.
EaglesNest1 year ago
Please keep updating this! I'd love to see the final project.