My sister came to stay for a couple weeks during the summer and absolutely saved me hundreds and hundreds of hours of weeding. She taught me the neatest trick in gardening I have learned in all the years I have been gardening…..
CARDBOARD—-cardboard is my savior! (–along with Dee)…. She spent a couple weeks helping me and ALL summer long I had minimal weeds and accomplished so much more, not to mention the hours of enjoyment. It was nice to take a book out to the deck and enjoy the fresh air without looking at or fretting over weeds. It’s been a never ending job, my weeds…and as I am getting older I seriously thought I would have to reduce the size of my gardens. I just couldn’t seem to keep up anymore. SO she really really did save me and my gardens too! So what is the secret? Here is what we did:
- We cut any tall weeds to the ground. (don’t get real crazy or work to hard at this)
- We opened boxes and flattened them, removed any tape, labels or staples. (Tape and staples do not biodegrade so they make a mess later on) **
- We laid boxes between and around plants, cutting to fit. (make sure to overlap 4” to 6” and cover any holes, gaps or seams by the same amount) AND do not put the boxes to tight to your flowers or you may kill them too. I gave them a couple inches all the way around and filled this with thicker mulch.
- Spread mulch on top of boxes.
This serves several purposes:
- The weeds won’t grow back thru the cardboard for weeks, if not months and most of them die before then. Making it easier to maintain your gardens and they look fantastic. This is especially important if you are like me and have LOTS of gardens and large gardens.
- This helps to retain moisture.
- You will use WAY less purchased mulch to do your beds so it’s cost effective and well, basically free mulch filler.
- The cardboard biodegrades feeding your plants well and giving you more time to relax and enjoy your flowers.
- Your time savings is incredible, not to mention maintenance free….or little ongoing maintenance.
- Spare your back!
I also started this in my vegetable garden last fall. I have always wanted to do a no-till garden but didn’t think this was going to be possible to do for some time in the future. In my vegetable garden, I topped the cardboard with leaves and such from the fall. Read more about a no-till garden here.
**NOTE: You may also use newspaper if you layer it quite thick, using 12 to 15 or more pages or shredded newspaper and layer it thick. I don’t care for the newspaper, myself. It’s more work and messier and also tends to pop thru the mulch in several places. I DO however like to use the shredded newspaper in the vegetable garden on top of the boxes…I AM all about recycling!