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Cardboard vs garden cloth for weed block under raised beds? Toplef10Cardboard vs garden cloth for weed block under raised beds? 1zd3ho10

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Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Cardboard vs garden cloth for weed block under raised beds? I22gcj10Cardboard vs garden cloth for weed block under raised beds? 14dhcg10

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Cardboard vs garden cloth for weed block under raised beds?

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EatYourVeggies
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Cardboard vs garden cloth for weed block under raised beds? Empty Cardboard vs garden cloth for weed block under raised beds?

Post  alan_marks59 3/27/2012, 7:49 pm

OK gang,

Here's my concern...

I'm starting SFG on a limited budget, as I've been unemployed for some time now. I have lots of brown cardboard boxes I can break down to put under my frames before filling with Mel's mix. I would allow the beds to drain with holes cut into the cardboard. My issue is cost, I can use cardboard for free, garden cloth costs money.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!

Alan
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Post  camprn 3/27/2012, 8:19 pm

If you can do this, you could get a little insurance by lifting the sod and then laying that cardboard down. That'll work better than just laying it on the growing grass! Unless you have a serious problem, the weed barrier is overrated. Save your dough. Very Happy

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Post  littlejo 3/27/2012, 9:29 pm

I wouldn't put holes in the cardboard, it works very well. Be sure to overlap the pieces so weeds cannot get in.

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Post  lisaphoto 3/27/2012, 9:31 pm

I heard 3 layers of newspaper work better than the cardboard and can be laid directly on grass.
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Post  RoOsTeR 3/27/2012, 9:57 pm

I used cardboard too...with no holes Cardboard vs garden cloth for weed block under raised beds? 3170584802

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Post  GWN 3/27/2012, 10:31 pm

I have always used cardboard, I find the cloth is a real pain.... it rots and then gets tangled up in the weeds.....
I would agree not to put holes in the cardboard....
The cardboard eventually rots as well, but it then blends in with the soil.
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Post  Too Tall Tomatoes 3/27/2012, 10:38 pm

My boxes will be 12 inches deep at one end and 20 inches deep at the other end. It'll be filled with topsoil and Mel's Mix will be at a depth of 8 inches across the top. Would I still need to turn over the grass and cover it with cardboard if it's under that much soil?
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Post  GWN 3/27/2012, 10:46 pm

Would I still need to turn over the grass and cover it with cardboard if it's under that much soil?
YES!

Weeds are pretty darn persistent little critters.......!!
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Post  Too Tall Tomatoes 3/27/2012, 10:50 pm

@GWN wrote:
Would I still need to turn over the grass and cover it with cardboard if it's under that much soil?
YES!

Weeds are pretty darn persistent little critters.......!!

You know, by the time I'm done building the boxes, turning over that much soil, turning the compost, making Mel's Mix, I'm either going to be dead or close to death.
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Post  GWN 3/27/2012, 10:58 pm

I'm either going to be dead or close to death.
no you won't. THe cardboard part is dead easy.... ... Will just save you tons of weed pulling in the year.
Last year I made several raised beds, and had a large load of soil brought in and some of these beds were 3 feet high.
The ones I took the time to place cardboard over the bottom before filling did NOT have weeds, whereas the ones I did NOT put in cardboard I had to weed all summer and eventually became over run with weeds.
So they can worm their way up even through all that soil.
Mels Mix is WAYYYYYY too precious a substance to allow any weeds to grow in.. Smile
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Post  Too Tall Tomatoes 3/27/2012, 11:00 pm

@GWN wrote:
I'm either going to be dead or close to death.
no you won't. THe cardboard part is dead easy.... ... Will just save you tons of weed pulling in the year.
Last year I made several raised beds, and had a large load of soil brought in and some of these beds were 3 feet high.
The ones I took the time to place cardboard over the bottom before filling did NOT have weeds, whereas the ones I did NOT put in cardboard I had to weed all summer and eventually became over run with weeds.
So they can worm their way up even through all that soil.
Mels Mix is WAYYYYYY too precious a substance to allow any weeds to grow in.. Smile

My body is aching just from reading this. Cardboard vs garden cloth for weed block under raised beds? 889526

Fortunately, I don't have to do all of this at once. I do have until May 1st to get it all together.
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Post  GWN 3/27/2012, 11:20 pm

My body is aching just from reading this
I am aching a bit too
The whole garden does not need to be done all at once
YOU are right... Smile
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Post  GWN 3/27/2012, 11:32 pm

Moderation...... thats the word!!!
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Post  CindiLou 3/28/2012, 12:06 am

Yup I just used several layers of newspapers...cardboard would work fine.
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Post  Grandpop 3/28/2012, 1:25 am

I haven't had a SFG, but I've always used newspapers as a weed retardant. You can either collect them from your supply, ask a neighbor to collect them, or go to the local newspapers where they have bundles of them for free. If you don't feel like the idea of digging up the top soil . . . don't, the seeds will still be there anyway. When I don't dig the soil, I use about three thicknesses. And, I have learned the hard way, moderation is the key! Very Happy
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Post  EatYourVeggies 3/28/2012, 5:27 am

@GWN wrote:Moderation...... thats the word!!!

Oh great, now you share this wisdom. Shocked I had covered up an existing row garden about six weeks ago, that I inherited when I moved in. Prior to putting down the cardboard, I leveled it from rows to something resembling the Moon's surface.

Then, I had ground up approximately two cubic yards of Walnut leaves in my chipper/shredder, pine needles, etc., that were used to level and fill depressions. I spread and over lapped about five layers of refrigerator and other thick large appliance boxes I had gotten for free, from a furniture store, and specifically for this project. Being from the school of "More is better", I extended the boundaries of my garden, to its new improved size of 16' x 24' and for general size comparison, the truck pictured is my one ton F-350. affraid

It's kind of large garden for a single guy, but in a couple of weeks, I'm planning on building six 3' or 4' x 6' SFG beds on top of the cardboard, adding a whole lot of Mel's Mix, then spreading bark dust around the beds, anywhere cardboard is showing. All of the harvested vegetables that I don't consume, are slated to go to family, then neighbors, and then the Clark County Food Bank, to help the community. Very Happy

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Post  llama momma 3/28/2012, 6:47 am

TooTallT
My first box in 2010 was 4x8 by 12 inches deep with Mel's mix. Back then I had a hard time believing in 6 inches. Put 3 layers of cardboard over grass. No weed cloth. Used hardware cloth for critters. Twelve inches of Mel's mix is pretty heavy stuff and I have not had any weed problems.
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Post  JK 3/28/2012, 8:59 am

I have an 8in box and a 12in box. I used weed cloth for both and the last few days I have had some kind of grass that after only a month has managed to push through the weed cloth and is coming up in my MM Evil or Very Mad.

Any box I do from here out is *at least* having cardboard bottoms.
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Post  Too Tall Tomatoes 3/28/2012, 9:55 am

@llama momma wrote:TooTallT
My first box in 2010 was 4x8 by 12 inches deep with Mel's mix. Back then I had a hard time believing in 6 inches. Put 3 layers of cardboard over grass. No weed cloth. Used hardware cloth for critters. Twelve inches of Mel's mix is pretty heavy stuff and I have not had any weed problems.

The area that I'm putting my boxes is just the typical grass and weeds. Nothing that really grows crazy. There's going to be anywhere between 12 and 20 inches of soil(top 8 inches across is Mel's Mix).

Since I have to dig up part of that grass to sink the boxes partly in, I should probably just dig it all up and cover it with layers of cardboard. The area that these boxes will cover is 80 sq feet.
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Post  llama momma 3/28/2012, 10:27 am

It sounds good to me. I would be very comfortable with those depths and believe you are going to suppress a big majority of weeds. Still, as you know there are some almost super-weeds out there... but your description sounds like what I've encountered and am willing bet it'll be just fine. And you prob. know a little stuff will be wind blown in and birds can drop stuff in too no matter how hard you try.
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Post  GWN 3/28/2012, 10:33 am


Oh great, now you share this wisdom.
Well moderation is not part of my vocabulary. It took me 15 minutes to remember that darn word Very Happy
I was asking my DH, what is that word that people use then they want me to slow down..........................
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Post  Too Tall Tomatoes 3/28/2012, 10:40 am

@llama momma wrote:And you prob. know a little stuff will be wind blown in and birds can drop stuff in too no matter how hard you try.

I'm going to put up a bird feeding station nearby, maybe 10 feet away, and I would expect birds to drop stuff in my garden. Maybe I can encourage the birds to eat bad bugs that will probably inhabit my it.
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Post  EatYourVeggies 3/28/2012, 4:08 pm

@GWN wrote:
Oh great, now you share this wisdom.
Well moderation is not part of my vocabulary. It took me 15 minutes to remember that darn word Very Happy
I was asking my DH, what is that word that people use then they want me to slow down..........................

I would have said, "Chill" Honey!? Wink
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Post  hopeless151 4/2/2012, 12:22 pm

So this is my first year to raised beds and was so excited. My friend told me to use 2 layers of weed clothe so I did....3 weeks later I have crab grass growing through!!! I still have a 3'x16' bed to do. Should I put cardboard under my weed clothe or over the weed clothe? I do NOT want to deal with grass!!! That was the whole purpose of getting this book and doing the SFG.
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Post  Furbalsmom 4/2/2012, 3:07 pm

Hopeless, that seems awfully fast for crabgrass to have grown through weedcloth. I wonder if some crabgrass seeds or roots were somehow mixed into your Mel's Mix. Using native soil in the beds will also bring along seeds and pieces of root that grow into weeds.
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