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Cardboard as mulch?

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by donrae, May 24, 2016.

  1. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

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    Morning!

    My garden area is an old-style large tilled area. In the past we've literally lost plants to the weeds [​IMG].

    Last few years we've used black plastic sheeting and planted through that. It works beautifully to keep the weeds from starting, but...

    it's ugly
    it's hot to walk on
    it's ugly
    it's expensive
    its ugly
    it degrades in the sun and shreds when we try to pick it up at the end of the season
    oh, and it's butt-ugly.


    I have lots of space to mulch, my plants are spaced pretty far apart. I also have a bunch of card board and paper bags, things like that. I'm thinking to just use them as mulch/weed barrier. Anyone see any issues with that? I figure they'll degrade and be tilled in if we're still on this property next year (Lord, please let us not still be on this property next year!). My thought is to lay them around the plants and cover with dirt or rocks to hold them in place until the plants grow enough to cover them.

    And yep, I know there are other ways to garden that make for easier weed control, but this is what I've got for this year, no going back now!
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    DR, Worms LOVE cardboard. I can't think of anything they'd rather eat. I wonder if the glue in it is sweet. Hmmm... The dog likes to chew on cardboard also, perhaps I'm missing a new taste sensation. Meet my daily fiber need while enjoying a tasty treat... I digress. Here's my thought: Go ahead and use that cardboard. If you're used to planting in rows, change up your planting scheme, and plant in beds. Big stuff like tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, squash and the like can go in rows. Smaller stuff like lettuce, kale, beets, carrots, onions can go in beds. You can also plant a row of lettuce in front of stuff that you can train up a fence or trellis. Any thing that can go up will save real estate. Don't waste space on wide paths. Just wide enough to accommodate full grown, and give you room to wade in to harvest. One of my favorite books early in my gardening career was: Joy of Gardening by Dick Raymond. He was the Troy Bilt guru. Planted everything in beds, and used a lot of legume food crops as dual purpose: harvest the food, then till under the remainder. He'd plant peas and bush beans in 10' x 10' blocks. Since then, I've moved on to keeping my soil covered. Started with Ruth Stout, and moving on to Back to Eden now. Again, I digress. You've got a lot on your plate, and are gardening in a difficult spot. Save yourself some time, and if you already haven't compress that garden down to plant as much crop as you can crowd into as little space as possible. I'd not bother to cover that cardboard with soil. Just peg it down, or use a few rocks. It should hold enough moisture to keep it from blowing away. When I go to the dump, I leave my trash, and then come home with a load of cardboard and mulch. Drives hubby crazy. Pay back for 40+ years of snoring, I guess! [​IMG]
     
  3. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Cardboard boxes make great weed block, use it just like black plastic weed, block with holes for each plant or a groove for the plants... Or you can also put down several layers of it and then toss a thin layer of new topsoil on top, the roots for your new plants will have no problem getting through it, but all the plants under it and seeds under it will be blocked from sprouting...

    I personalty switched to container gardening to avoid weeds, much, much easier to control weeds in a container as well as ferts, plus I can tailor the soil by container for different plants...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

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    Thanks folks, I though it would be okay. Always good to hear the voice of experience, though.

    I'll try to get a pic of my garden up. I'd really, really love to convert to raised beds and trellis for viney things, but for now that's not happening. I've got plenty of space, that's not an issue here. It's keeping the weeds down in all that space [​IMG]. My lay out is also constrained by how my old drip line was set up. Trying to be frugal and re-use the old system, and I think it's going to work well.
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

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    Pics of my current space

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Wow, you do have a lot of space. I love to re-purpose stuff for trellises. I now have 2 old swing sets. One of them is 35 y.o. and still going strong with a second coat of primer and paint on it. My g.d. finally, kind of... outgrew her swing set, so I have that in the garden also, and have a length of conduit spanning the distance between them. Gives me 48 linear feet of trellis space. Cattle panels are one of the most economic useful items a gardener can use. They make fantastic fences, trellises, green houses, chicken coops... the list is only limited by the imagination. They last just about forever, and are pretty much indestructible.
     

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