Mulch gardening and megreenspun.com : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread
So far mulch gardening has been a pain for me, but I figured out how to make it work. No experiment is a failure unless you don't learn from it. Put cardboard under your mulch.Furniture rental places always have lots of excess cardboard. The small portion of my garden with the cardboard doesn't have weeds and it take a lot less hay and straw to keep it that way. Cardboard is also much nicer to lay that newspaper. One hint is to use it before you get any plants in the ground.
Little Bit Farm
-- Little bit farm (littleBit@compworldnet.com), June 21, 2001
I'm glad the cardboard worked for you. It didn't work too well for me. I found that the carboard, while keeping the light out better, also kept the water out better. The runoff was too much - too little went into the surrounding soil. I also had problems with the cardboard decomposing too slowly. How did you solve that one? I still use newspaper, but in double thickness. Yea, I still get a few of the more stubborn weeds, but it lets the water penetrate better and decomposes faster (for me, anyway) Either way, I'll second the need for the straw: without it neither plan will work well!
-- StevenB (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 21, 2001.
We mulch heavily, and have discovered that paper feed sacks are great under the hay. Not as heavy as cardboard, but last longer and easier to position than newspaper. We save them all winter and have plenty in the spring. Guess that tells you how much feed I buy.
-- melina b. (email@example.com), June 21, 2001.
I've used cardboard and feed sacks and not had any trouble with either. My biggest problem with mulch is keeping the chickens out of it. I just give up on my flower beds. I don't want them to look like they are in some kind of a high security plant prison, but I seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place with chickens eating the hoppers or having pretty flowers for the hoppers to eat. Ugh. Anyway, I am a huge fan of super heavy duty mulching with or without anything under it. Less weeds come up with newspaper 8 sheets thick or non plasticized cardborad, or feed sacks so long as they don't have a plastic layer to them, but just 6-8 inches of fine mulch will do better than 18 inches of coarse straw. Also with hay and straw they tend to bring along their own weed seeds so you have to get them early.
-- Doreen (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 27, 2001.