I do not put ads on my blog but do have a counter that shows me how many visits the pages get. (The stats. count is just there so I can see if I am 'talking' to myself, luckily so far this has not happened.) By continuing your visit here you are consenting to the stats. counter tracking cookies. Cookies, that sounds like something nice to eat but not that exciting.

Growing Your Own Fruit and Vegetables

We grow our own fruit and vegetables for our meals for as much of the year as we can. Without a greenhouse we have to buy shop food in the winter months but in the spring, summer and autumn we often have enough to share with family and friends.

Read about growing your fruit and vegetables here on my growing your own food pages.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Cardboard for a light blocking mulch on the allotment, an experiment.

What can you use a large cardboard box for?  

We are going to open it out and place it on top of a patch of soil at the allotment to help to block out the light and help to discourage weeds germinating there in the warmer weather spells.

Yes, it is a bit of an experiment but we tried something like this in the past and it helped, when placed on areas that have been rid of most of the weeds. This is the first time we have had a piece of cardboard this large so it might work better then last time. We will obviously weight down the cardboard with old bricks at the edges. When we remove it later in the year we will be able to throw the old card onto the compost heap. If the card is so wet that it rots away it will be incorporated eventually into the soil by the allotment's worm population.
  • If you wanted to you could experiment with adding additional mulching materials over the layer of cardboard. We have not tried this method yet but I see no reason why it would not work, unless of course the weather conditions failed to rot down the cardboard before you wanted to use the area for planting. If this happens when you just have cardboard on the soil, you can remove it and add it to the compost heap.

4 Reasons why a cardboard mulch on the vegetable plot might be a bad idea.
  • One of the disadvantages of mulching (with any product) is that it might increase the problems you have with slugs and the like. However as with all things when growing it is up to the gardener to weigh up the advantages against the disadvantages.
  • I would not use cardboard as a mulch if I lived in a place where termites were a problem as it is a favored place for them to live and thrive. We do not have that problem in the UK but I know that some of my readers live in countries where termites can cause problems to property.
  • Cardboard might not work as a light barrier against weeds as well as some other materials.
  • Any mulch that covers the soil totally prevents birds feeding off the things that live in the soil that you would prefer to have reduced in numbers.

a healthy potato plant in flower

a healthy potato plant in flower
photo of potatoes in flower

home grown carrots.. grown from seed

home grown carrots.. grown from seed
photo of my first bunch of carrots 2009

Even a small batch of mixed fruit can be useful

Even a small batch of mixed fruit can be useful
Home Grown Fruit can be made into delicious compote