[NAFEX] Weed preventative idea

Dinsmoor dinsmoor at sopris.net
Tue Feb 17 11:32:03 EST 2009

Hi there,
I never have sent any notes to your group, but do read them. The cardboard 
is a technique I have used for about 10 years in a zone 3/4 with great luck. 
We have very thin soil atop river rock and put down any sort of mulch 
available in the mountains. Free wood chips from a tree service, leaves from 
landscapers, straw and manure from the neighbor's horses, etc. I then use 
the unpainted cardboard boxes from our restaurant, remove any plastic tapes 
and staples, put them down 4 layers thick (2 flattened boxes) and cover with 
up to another 12" of mulch.

Yes, it does kill all the tall grasses and weeds. After a full 12 months, we 
can plant through the cardboard with great results, lots of new worms. I 
envy Diane Porter's "chocolate cake" but ours is getting better and better. 
I have put it around my trees as well with a 12" mulch of wood chips and 
they have grown much better with the moisture it keeps in the arid ground. 
The birds are always digging in it for worms. The cardboard eventually 
disintegrates and the mulch as well, so I re-do the trees every 5 years or 
so to keep out the hay grass. Weeds on top of the cardboard pull  up very 
easily. The new garden beds are tilled after they are first established in 
the above manner. We have very little time to weed in the summer season and 
this way is an enormous help with upkeep on the property. But be forwarned, 
the mulch takes many, many wheelbarrel loads to move and you may find 
yourself borrowing or buying skid steers or a big tractor as we finally did.

You can easily get cardboard from any restaurant or my particular favorite, 
the huge cartons that appliances come in cover a big area very fast with few 
seams of overlap. Printers get their paper in large sizes with cardboard 
under every pile as well. These have no tape and come flat to start with - 
less work.
Thanks for all the tips on hardy plants.
Jane Dinsmoor
zone 3 in Colorado
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jim Fruth" <jfruth at tds.net>
To: "NAFEX" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 8:50 AM
Subject: [NAFEX] Weed preventative idea

>    I sometimes wish NAFEX had a light-bulb symbol for bright, new ideas. 
> I
> think Diane Porter just gave us one.  She mentioned putting cardboard atop
> the soil, under the mulch.  A 6" layer of mulch will prevent annual weeds
> from growing but will do nothing to prevent perennial weeds from coming 
> up;
> her cardboard should accomplish that task.  Is it possible that the
> perennial weeds come up, can't penetrate the cardboard and eventually
> (within a season?) die and rot?
>    I have always fallowed my soil for a season, spraying with Round Up, 
> let
> it grow, till, spray again, repeat, etc.  Next time I need to open new
> ground, I'll use Diane's method..................now where can I get 
> enough
> cardboard?
> Diane said, "We thought we'd get a truckload of composted cow manure to
> spread thickly on the ground, then cover with cardboard, mulch heavily 
> with
> straw, and plant the raspberries in holes cut though the cardboard."
> Jim Fruth
> Brambleberry Farm
> Pequot Lakes, MN  56472
> For jams, jellies, syrups and more:
> www.jellygal.com
> 1-877-265-6856 (Toll Free)
> 1-218-831-7018 (My Cell)
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