I admit it. I love the feel of fabric. I love to sew with it, design with it and just collect it.
But, Garden Fabric is something altogether different.
Also called Landscape Fabric, it is a sheeting, not quite cottony not quite plastic-y that helps with undergrowth. Also called WEEDS. Weeds are the bane of any gardener's existence. Weeding takes time, cuts down on nutrients, moisture and sunlight for the actual plant, increases bug population and looks terrible.
To drastically cut back on weeds, during planting season, till your soil, add composting and then cover with a layer of the landscape fabric. Simple cut a small hole or X where you want your planting to go and place it in the soil as normal. Pin down or just weigh down the fabric and then cover with mulch. In 2 months there will be few if any weeds from this area!
Another alternative is to lay layers of wet newspaper instead of the fabric. The newspaper will eventually disintegrate and need to be replaced, but should last a New England season. The landscape fabric, will need to be replaced eventually, but will last a few seasons. It allows water to drain in the soil and oxygen and other nutrients to get through.
This is one case where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!