Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spot smothering and success story!!


Thanks for doing the Lasagna Garden talk.  I only wish we had heard of it a year before we ripped up 25% of our yard with a sod cutter!

I was wondering if you have done any 'spot smothering' in an existing bed?  We now have some very large mulched beds that get weedy and grassy pretty quickly.  The shredded wood mulch keeps some of it down but not all.

Wanted to let you know after we saw you talk last year, we put in a small (50sqft) lasagne garden, I think in August and were able to get several nice, large yellow squash from about 8 plants that went in
very sickly looking and perked up nicely until the frost finally killed them off.

Now we want to lasagne the rest of the yard.  NO MORE DIGGING!!

Our recipe was just cardboard, 4 bales of hay, and all the grass clippings from the back yard, wet, tarp for two weeks and plant!  It went beautifully.  When the rain pooled on the tarp, I just punched a hole or two in the middle and let it drain straight into the bed.




Music to my ears!!!--the sound of no sod cutter!!!   and smaller turf grass lawn--they have their place, but they have too much place, right now in the USA. Conserve and use that water--right on!!

 "Less work--More Produce!!"

I love laying down cardboard and knowing all the grass is dead--instead of digging out sod, WORKING SO HARD, and knowing quack grass roots are probably still there.

Sickly plants perked up--that is great to hear.   Pretty amazing to see what plants can do when given the growing environment they evolved with, huh.  Next time, with sickly summer squash plants, you may do just as well to soak seeds a few hours and plant fresh seeds.  Sickly plants, sometimes are disease infected and cannot recover.

"Spot smothering"  You have a couple of choices.  It depends on what you have growing there.  Of course, if you cover desirable plants, they will die also--except spring bulbs.  Once spring bulbs go dormant, you could smother where they are and kill existing weeds in that area.  Next spring, the cardboard will be decomposed and the bulbs will come up--maybe don't mulch really deep on the cardboard in that area or make sure it is not deep in the fall.

"Spot smothering"--it can work.  In mulch, it might be helpful to pull what parts of the weed, you can, at first.  Then make sure to smother at least a foot beyond the edge of the weeds.  Quack grass and creeping charlie will probably get out the sides of just a foot over their edges.  If they do, pull, cut or cover those parts too.

You need to be diligent to make sure no weed parts get up above the smother layer--that is what they want to do--and spreading plants are designed to do that.  Success depends on your diligence.

Another method for raspberries, asparagus or other plants like that is to apply 2 to 6" of mulch (not wood) once or twice a month and let it keep building up at their base, as they are growing above it.  You must work to pull any weed parts coming up in the mulch.

If weeds are growing in your mulch--make the mulch thicker.  "Mulch!Mulch!Mulch" handout has some on this.

Good luck,


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