As you would expect, virtually no annual weeds came through the cardboard layer, instead they lay rotting and dying below, making a valuable contribution to the organic matter in the soil, their breakdown aided by the super-charged pelleted chicken manure scattered months before. When I did water, I pulled the straw back first, soaked the soil around the plants, then fitted it back around the stems. Beyond its use in sheet mulching, cardboard also makes for an excellent all-purpose weed barrier. Cardboard is successful as a base for at least four inches of mulch, however. I have black tarp to lay down on my garden to suppress weeds. This idea is derived from the concept of sheet mulching. Let’s break it down. If so, use a double or triple layer or lay the sheet on top of newspaper, cardboard or other light-excluding mulch. Natural and organic vegetable garden weed control methods include no-dig method, planting edible ground covers to suppress weeds, using newspaper, shredded paper, cardboard and organic mulch, boiling water, vinegar, targeted This also moistened the cardboard, which started going mouldy after just a few days. A cardboard mulch is an inexpensive way to kill out the weeds in a large area. Cardboard and newspaper will eventually decompose so over time we will need to repeat. I’ll try pieces of cardboard or newspaper in between my blackberry plants. In the hot summer days, you do not like to break the back trying to hoe or pull all these weeds. First of all, trim the grasses or weeds to the ground level and then just lay down the cardboard … It works especially well for beds created in reclaimed lawn or very weedy areas. Smaller seeds posed more of a problem than say peas or beans, and I still found that germination was very poor in places, which I put down to both less than ideal conditions (it was an exceptionally cold spring in 1996) and various 'damping off' fungi which I suspect were lurking in the mushroom compost (where else!). Instead of pulling weeds up or using herbicides, cardboard simply smothers them and prevents them from receiving sunlight. To my fellow allotment holders, the layer of fresh straw meant one of two things; either I was about to set up a donkey sanctuary (complete with free rides for the kids), or I had gone into commercial mushroom production. Laying Down Cardboard as a Weed Barrier When using cardboard to kill weeds and grass in a new planting area, start a few months or an entire season ahead of the time you intend to plant. You might think that what I did next was in some sense 'cheating', but I felt it was vital that the cardboard layer should be weighed down in some way, to keep it firmly in place, especially with an established layer of weeds lurking below. Avoiding windy days, I simply laid the sheets out like tiles, overlapping their edges by no less than 6in (15cm). The best defense against weeds is to use other plants. You can use cardboard to suppress weeds but it will degrade very quickly thanks to weather and worms. A review of 'Harmony in Food & Farming' conference this summer. No digging. ... For this reason many allotments have banned the use of carpets to suppress weeds etc. It was time to surf the interwebs a bit before making a final decision on my next steps. It's here that so much enthusiasm is so easily quashed by the sight of overgrown plots, brambles and a waving sea of weeds. Being a professional horticulturist at heart, I was surprised at how easily, after a traditional education bestowing the virtues of agriculture/horticulture, I warmed to the many lessons permaculture began to teach me. This latter activity might not give you the neatest of beds, but I'm sure that whatever the birds were after, they certainly found them. A revolution in my thinking had begun which is still going strong today. These are very good points, but the best advice I can give, is to do what you know you can easily achieve and afford; use garden compost, leaf mould, well-rotted manure, even topsoil if you can get it. Your email address will not be published. Growth did eventually take off, but only when actual air temperatures rose noticeably. Cultural or organic control measures rely on killing or restricting the weeds by physical action, from manual removal to smothering, burning and using weed barriers. Using cardboard, newspaper or a combination of both has become a popular way to mulch gardens and prevent the growth of weeds at the same time. Landscape fabric looks nice, but so does mulch-covered newspaper. The cardboard will keep the weeds from growing up through the dirt and insulate the ground to a temperature that kills the weed seeds. It works: It will suppress weeds growing up through your gravel while still allowing water to drain. Remove all the tape from the cardboard (it’s not biodegradable) and lay the cardboard over the soil/weeds working from one end of the space to the other. Once I'd chosen my plot (neglected but not too overgrown - I avoided any with 8ft high brambles), the great cover-up began. Using companion plants with big sun leaves like squash help deprive light to the soil during the growing season. Newspaper and cardboard can be on means of adding some necessary organic matter to soil, however if one does accumulate sufficient quantities of other forms of OM so they need not use either the newspaper or cardboard that can be okay, too, but for those that need the help that these paper products provide it is just fine to use them. Cover Crops to Suppress Weeds Using cover crops isn’t a novel practice, but it hasn’t been common in small gardens until recently. Mulching with a layer of cardboard or paper under grass clippings is a labour saving way to suppress weeds whilst naturally improving soil quality. I do make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) from these sales. Weeds can be controlled without resorting to weedkillers. These are products that I've used or recommend based from homesteading experience. Although in the heat of the day my crops flagged just like everyone else's, they generally had a much better 'look' to them, and recovered from the midday heat much quicker. Mulching with a layer of cardboard or paper under grass clippings is a labour saving way to suppress weeds whilst naturally improving soil quality. Trim any grass or weeds close to the ground in the area to be mulched using a string trimmer or lawn mower. My final act in the cover-up was to cover the whole area with a 6in (15cm) deep layer of straw, to act as a water-saving, attractive and weed-blocking mulch, and this too was given a good soaking to keep it in place. The additional mulch layer prevents any weeds that do penetrate the cardboard from reaching maturity. Put the rest on the compost pile. You may want to be careful about using cardboard containing glues or other additives. Remove any existing weeds from the area where you wish to create the weed barrier. Lay down news paper or cardboard over the area you want to kill/smother. Take care around existing plantings to not injure the plants you wish to keep. My makeshift solution was make a slit through the cardboard, down into the soil below, and then mix the soil with the mushroom compost, sowing the seeds onto this. Cardboard To Stop Weeds. 1. I had a raised bed built last summer and couldn't afford to plant anything. You might be better digging it out then laying the cardboard to suppress the "less evil" weeds. A year after starting all you need to do is draw back the straw layer (which itself is breaking down nicely), level the soil and sow as usual. It rains a lot here in Panama from about April or May through mid November. I recalled reading up a bit on the use of cardboard as a weed suppressant. Putting down cardboard with manure on it will possibly just act to fertilise it in the spring as the cardboard rots thru. 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