if you're willing to use shredded paper then plain cardboard
or cardboard with some black ink on it is very good for
smothering hard to get rid of weeds. a few layers overlapped
so that water can get through will work just fine. then put
your mulch on top. by the time the cardboard gets broken
down by worms/pill bugs/fungi, etc. the weeds have usually
run out of energy. i use this method on most of the spots that
turn out to be a lot of trouble and i don't want to disturb
them by digging up the entire area. much less work than digging
and pulling weeds out too. especially considering you can
usually get cardboard for free from almost any store.
i used this method last year along a fence that was being
taken over by pennyroyal and also a low area that was collecting
weed seeds that i wanted to cover. spent about 5 minutes the
rest of the season getting a few stragglers along an edge. in
the low spot eventually the bark pieces and stuff i put in
there will be good humus to scrape up and use someplace else
and i can put down another round for the worms to work on.
may not be around easily found if all the cattle are
free range and no dairies. the home depot option is
fine for small amounts needed if you are doing small
worms/worm castings are good too and you can use
those weed scraps as part of the food.
you'll want some green stuff in there too, get it
in a few weeks before you put the plants in. if you
do a few layers deep alternating green stuff, brown
stuff and some dirt, topsoil and composted cow manure
you'll have a nice start. keep it damp (not needed to
be super soggy).
there is usually some remaining seeds in almost any soil
unless it has been sterilized in some manner. the seeds
of some plants will last quite a long time (especially in
the more arid climates). i heard that crab grass seed
can last 75yrs... i don't much care for lawns/grass and
everything being even and perfect. a mulching mower and
frequent trimming when the wet/growing season is on will
select for plants that can tolerate that sort of treatment.
good enough for me until i can get rid of the mower
for very hard soils i'd just go up top with hay bales
and use them to frame a small area and plant the zukes
into a mix of topsoil and composted cow manure or the worm
castings. the hay bales will eventually break down and
turn into humus. they have more weed seeds than straw
bales, but i like having green stuff eventually rotting.
some people mulch with straw, we usually have wood
chips. when those rot they turn into prime humus. if
you can find anyone trimming trees and grinding them up
they are often happy to deliver a truckload if they
happen to be in your area, just ask.
because i want woody materials to last longer rather
than rot fast i don't want things shredded too finely.
some larger chunks are good, they help hold moisture.
as a top mulch i want fairly large chips or even have
used pieces of bark to cover in between plants (sometimes
with cardboard underneath them).
really, it doesn't matter what exact organic materials
you can find or grow, most of will break down into humus
eventually if you have moisture/rains and the soil critters
to help things out (and fungi too).
The dandelions I recognize as I have been trying to kill them
for years. Vinegar might not kill them, but it sure screws them
something terrible, so it may only be an emotional thing for me.
Cow poop it is! I will see what I can find in a bag. Hope
getting it home doesn't stick up my car.
i like dandelions, Ma just mows them down when they
start flowering and then about every three to four days,
not many make it to seed stage.
it is composted already, doesn't stink like much of
anything that i recall, it's very low nutrient organic
material, that is why i use wood chips instead, can
get them much cheaper/free.
can you grow alfalfa anywhere on your property?
that's a good source of N to add to a heap for growing
zukes. or get a few bags of alfalfa pellets to mix
in your piles. for the money i think they're better
than composted cow poo.
we have another landscaper guy we talked to this
morning who will drop off wood chips when he's out
this way and has tree work as it saves him from having
to haul them somewhere else to dump. for the cost
of gas it will be a bargain.
i see you mention being able to grow ponderosa pines.
the needles from those would be good humus eventually
too. they do not acidify nearly as much as some people
think. humus itself is mildly acidic. just be happy
to scrounge any free organics you can and then let
nature do the rest. you'll get some good topsoil
have i shown you this picture before?
the light colored soil is our native clay mixed
with some sand (if we can get it) and then the
dark is what happens when i take some of that native
soil and recondition it for a year in the worm
I am told by someone to use "Canadian Peatmoss" to
acidify the soil quickly.
Also, the "someone" said my alkaline sold is hurting my
zuke production too. You thoughts?
You do realize I think you know everything about gardening.
Picked all my pull-able weeds yesterday. Soon as the ground
dries out a bit from today's rain, I am going to go at
the ground huggers with my 20% vinegar and my pump bottle
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
Hope it works as well as pouring a cups of 6% straight on
them. Man does that mess up a dandelion.
Then I make my ground pots.
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