Whatever you have.. You could even use cardboard or newspaper but its
not very aestheticall pleasing for a garden. For BEST weed suppression
I'd recommend one of the proprietary artificial mulch fabrics such as
Phormisol. These have a blocking equivalent to black plastic for weeds
but are water permeable. As you mention black plastic it would suggest
you aim to cover a reasonable sized clear area and plant up, rather than
mulching around many established plants???
For natural mulches you cannot really beat chipped bark, but remember to
lay a little pelleted chicken manure or similar high N with it to
prevent Nitrogen lock up.
Nothing beats about 6" of hay. With that thickness, seeds very seldom
sprout. If they do, you just put another flake on them.
The big advantage over straw is that there is more nutrient in hay which has
seeds & flowers whereas hay doesn't and has probably been treated with
pesticide or herbicide so that the grain that was growing on the straw was
not contaminated with weed seed.
The advantage over all the sheets or rolls of fabric is that hay will
compost in place on your garden and all the nutrient will end up in your
Hay is also excellent for moisture conservation.
Along with hay, you can add leaves, grass, or any vegetation. I have been
using Ruth Stout's ( Google her name and you will find tons of links)
gardening method for 4 years with excellent results with the exception of
reduced germination of seeds in the garden. I still have to work on that.
Anyone e have any ideas?
On 20 Aug 2003 10:25:28 -0700, email@example.com (Mark A) wrote:
I also have extremely difficult weed problems...these weeds literally
grow a foot within less than two weeks this time of year.
I am going to pull them out one more time this week, then cover all
areas with non-glossy newspaper...then shred the leaves and pile the
clippings in a spot where they can cook, maybe even pile them on top
of the newspaper to make it more aesthetically pleasing. Hopefully
this will stifle these buggers.
My favorite way, and most successful way, to keep weeds from sprouting up
everywhere in my vegetable garden is to layer the area with thick (whole
sections) of black/white newspaper and then mulch with either grass
clippings, shredded (non-treated) hardwood mulch, or dried leaves.
I moved to a new house last fall and haven't had the time yet to develop a
large area for multiple gardens. I improvised and used a bed off the back
of my screened porch. It had a large clump of orange ditch lilies in the
middle and the rest was weeds and old mulch. I pulled as many as I could of
the large weeds and left the little ones. My kids, 11 & 13, were my
helpers. I would lay out the newspaper, overlapping edges so as not to
leave any gaps for weeds to pop through. The kids manned the hose and wet
it down for me. This keeps it in place so it doesn't blow away. I filled a
wheel barrow full of hardwood mulch and layered it on top of the newspaper.
Leave a small opening at the base of each plant so water flows in freely.
The rain will soak the mulch and seep right down through the newspaper. The
newspaper will, over time, break down naturally.
We have had tremendous amounts of rain this summer (water tables are maxed
out) and I have beautiful, lush tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans and
basil without a single weed in the area. Once in a while, crab grass tries
to come up through the small hole around the plant, but I just pluck it out
early. It's so easy to walk through the area.
I save every newspaper I can to use in my other gardens too. I have a large
hill (15' high x 120' long) that I will be clearing and planting with
perennials this fall. This will use a huge amount of papers and then I will
cover the area with weed block material that I pin down to keep in place. I
just cut a "t" in the fabric and plant the plants into the soil below. I
find that weed block material alone, does not keep the weeds down. Many
times, the weeds poke up through the fabric; that's why I use the newspaper
below. Weed block material is porous and allows water to penetrate, unlike
black plastic. It's sold in 3' x 25', 3' x 50', or 3' x 100' usually.
Zone 7b - North Carolina
I think it is probably intended to mean matt papers as opposed to glossy
print. Most newsprint is printed with safe non toxic vegetable based
dyes nowadays. If in doubt query the papers you most commonly use...
The only thing you must be aware of with any highly cellulose based
mulch such as paper/chips/cardboard etc to to ensure that there is some
nitrogen fixing plants or supplementation to prevent nitrogen lock up as
a mulch breaks down. This can be done by adding a little high N organic
fertiliser such as dried blood/pelleted chicken manure/grass clippings
etc. (Some of the above may not be available in your location.
alternatives may be used.)
Many newspapers use soy ink, which is safe. Look for the "made with
soy ink" label in the newspaper, the label on my local paper is at the
bottom left corner of the front page. Glossy pages and ads are the
only ones which should be avoided
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