There’s no easy way to say this.
Composting is important! Sure, you fertilize your plants to show how much you love them, but what have you done for your soil lately? So this past week, we added a layer of compost to our raised beds that we picked up bulk style in a trailer. We also make our own. In a nutshell, compost is decomposed organic matter. It’s rich in nutrients and promotes soil microbes that aid plant growth. We take all our vegetable and fruit scraps, leaves and grass and chuck it into the garden. Then we thickly layer the top of the bed with the black gold compost we ordered and rake it all in.
And if you’re looking to smother weeds, pile up newspaper (no colored ads please) and/or thick cardboard, soak it with the hose, and pile on 6-8 inches of compost. This feeds our soil. Newspaper/cardboard is natural, organic and free! And it’s so much better than using landscape fabric or black plastic that isn’t biodegradable. In fact, when it breaks down, it makes a mess of your yard and then you are stuck running around the yard cleaning up the bits and pieces come spring and fall.
Tips For Using Cardboard & Newspaper
- Use brown cardboard only
- Remove all tape and staples from cardboard prior to use
- Larger pieces of cardboard work best because they cover a larger area & provide a more solid weed barrier (think big appliance box)
- Be sure to overlap edges 6-8 inches to keep those pesky weeds from breaking through
- Water the cardboard before you add mulch
- Poke holes into the web cardboard when you are ready to add plants
- Make sure before you use the cardboard/newspaper that you are not covering up any seedling or incoming plants
- Worms love cardboard – it’s tasty!
- Cardboard decomposes quickly say 2- 3 months at the most
- Cardboard attracts water keeping it in your garden bed where needed