Monday, June 10, 2013

Reuse cardboard instead of Landscaping Cloth

English: Aged mulch of coarse home compost Cat...
Aged mulch of coarse home compost Category:Compost (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week I told you about using plastic bags as a landscaping cloth.

There is a better alternative that will save you money and in the end is better for the environment and your garden.

It's commonly referred to as the lasagna method. Cover the ground with carboard, preferably the single layer stuff like a cereal box then cover the cardboard with 2 or 3 inches coarse organic mulch such as wood chips or bark. Layers of newspaper will also work. This will last about a year. To continue, simply add another layer of cardboard and another 2" coarse mulch. The organic materials will gradually decompose and enrich the soil while feeding your plants. A good mulch will let water percolate down, slowly decompose to improve the soil, and prevent weeds from sprouting.

The point of mulch is to prevent light from reaching the soil -- light activates the weed growth. That's why you lay a solid mass of paper or cardboardover the soil. Bark and wood chips are slow to decompose, thus lasting for about a year. Shredded dry leaves will usually decompose in 6 to 9 months.

The occasional wind-blown seed will take root on top of the mulch but young weeds are easy to pull up.

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Re-Use Old Grocery Bags #2

Mulch Ado About Nothing
Mulch Ado About Nothing (Photo credit: t0msk)

I am not a fan of landscaping cloth, but does occasionally have some uses. We have very invasive deep root weeds that like to crop up everywhere, so I use it one some of my smaller vegetable beds.

Landscaping cloth is black plastic that you put underneath mulch and garden beds to try and keep weeds from sprouting up. It typically costs about $0.50 per square foot, which can add up if doing a large bed and if you are only doing a small bed you end up buying way more fabric than what you needed.

I've been making some new raised vegetable beds and instead of putting down landscaping cloth I put down plastic bags. I found some large bags from Target and JC Penney and I slit them open then I laid them down in the bottom of the beds and put the dirt over top of them. They will serve the same purpose by effectively acting as a barrier, they will also be a lot easier to pick up in five or ten years because roots won't weave their way into them like it does with the fabric.

Next week I will tell you about a more environmentally friendly option

Be sure to check out my other blogs;
The Great Spam Project - A blog all about Spam (the email type, not the edible)
Ghost of a Writer - My Personal Blog
Killer Teacup - My Online Portfolio

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