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I have a big area that is full of weeds right now but soon it will become my herb garden. I don’t know about you, but I cannot keep up with the weeds in my yard. This time of year, if I get right on it, I can make a bit of a dent. The big question then becomes how to keep them from growing back faster than you can clear the next area.
Last year I discovered the magic of cardboard in the garden. Once an area is weeded you lay out 2-3 layers of flattened cardboard boxes. You have to be sure to overlap the seams because anywhere that weeds can get through, they will, especially the super pokey giant thistles that reach for the tender parts of your toes. It worked amazingly well for the areas that I got good coverage on between my planting beds. The biggest thing I learned from last year’s experiment is that I need to cover the cardboard with a fairly thick layer of mulch, I am going to use wood chips. This will serve several purposes. First, it will help hold the cardboard down in the wind. Next, cardboard gets quite slimy and holds a lot of moisture on top of it, so the mulch will help alleviate this problem as well. Finally, it is going to look much better than a bunch of cardboard strewn about.
The cardboard and wood chips will eventually break down and this will help my soil by providing more organic matter and texture. I will get into soil in much more detail in another post but in general for my soil, the more organic matter the better. Be sure that if you try this you remove any tape from your boxes first. Also, I am just using the plain brown cardboard, not any of the colored or glossy cardboard.
The first thing we did was knock down all the big, tall weeds and rake them up. Next, we will start working on layering the cardboard and placing the wood chips. For this area, it will likely sit like that for a little while until I can get my herb garden design nailed down. I know I want lavender, sage, rosemary, oregano, and lots of thyme. Some of these things are currently growing in an old raised bed, so I will just move them. Some of the others are seeds that I have or will soon start. I am still experimenting with varieties that will survive the winter. Letting the area sit for a bit with the cardboard and much will help kill some of the weeds, so they don’t just pop up when I dig my holes through the cover.