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Cardboard instead of weed cloth? Toplef10Cardboard instead of weed cloth? 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
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 instead of weed cloth? I22gcj10Cardboard instead of weed cloth? 14dhcg10

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Cardboard instead of weed cloth?

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buttaflie143
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Cardboard instead of weed cloth? Empty Cardboard instead of weed cloth?

Post  lisaphoto 3/19/2010, 1:38 pm

I have seen a couple of people on here say they put down cardboard or newspaper instead of the weed cloth. I have a couple of questions:

1)can you do that directly over existing grass
2) Does it have to be one large piece, or can it be multiple pieces overlapping
3) Will this really keep the weeds out for ever?
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Post  Patty from Yorktown 3/19/2010, 2:36 pm

Hi,
I have used both weed cloth and cardboard/newspaper. All three options work and over time all three options will get weeds. I find the weeds easier to remove from newspaper or cardboard. Yes you can put cardboard and newspaper over grass. It will kill the grass. No it does not need to be a single sheet. I wet a small stack of newspaper and spread it, before I put down mulch. It lasts about two years You can use printed newspaper, just not the glossy stuff. I put the cardboard printed side down. It turns into compost eventually. Hope this helps.

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Post  Theresa 3/19/2010, 8:17 pm

I used several layers of wet newspapers on top of the grass where I put my SFGs. I had my husband take the weed eater and cut the grass very low to the ground before I put the wet newspapers down. I've not had any weeds come up from under the SFG, once in a while one may pop up from a seed that has blown over into the garden.

I did read where someone used a heavy cardboard, and it didn't allow for proper drainage so they had to poke holes into the cardboard for drainage.

I'm sure the weed barrier works well, but just never used it myself.
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Post  timwardell 3/19/2010, 9:25 pm

lisaphoto wrote:I have seen a couple of people on here say they put down cardboard or newspaper instead of the weed cloth. I have a couple of questions:
1)can you do that directly over existing grass
2) Does it have to be one large piece, or can it be multiple pieces overlapping
3) Will this really keep the weeds out for ever?
1) Yes, you can do it directly over the grass. Though, as has already been suggested, it helps to mow it very low first or scalp it with a weedeater, or - even better - do it in late winter or early spring while the grass is still dormant (if it's the dormant type).
2) I can be multiple pieces of cardboard and/or newspaper overlapping.
3) Yes, it will keep the weeds out if you put it on thick enough. One or two pages of newspaper won't cut it. By the time the newspaper and/or cardboard rots it will have smothered and killed the grass. The material then becomes compost - as does the now dead weeds & grass.
I'm in Texas and the lawn was sodded with bermuda grass - very invasive stuff. I put down newspaper 20 pages thick then covered that with weed cloth stapled to the inside of my boxes. This was the only option as I've seen bermuda grass send runners up, through, and around weed barriers in the past. By using newspaper in late winter I greatly increased my chances of taking out the grass. It worked and I haven't had any grass or weeds in those beds except what has blown in on the wind.
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Post  buttaflie143 4/22/2011, 6:21 pm

[quote="Theresa"]
I did read where someone used a heavy cardboard, and it didn't allow for proper drainage so they had to poke holes into the cardboard for drainage. [quote]

Uh oh Cardboard instead of weed cloth? 601593 ...I used cardboard moving boxes (is this considered to be heavy cardboard?). Should I have poked holes in them? How will I know if I am not getting proper drainage?
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Post  Old Hippie 4/22/2011, 6:49 pm

Buttaflie, I have never worried about drainage with cardboard or newspaper. It just rots and composts. If it has a plastic or vinyl coating on it, that is a different story. But even waxed cardboard decomposes beautifully. It just takes a bit longer than regular cardboard.

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Post  elliephant 4/22/2011, 6:49 pm

buttaflie143 wrote:
Uh oh Cardboard instead of weed cloth? 601593 ...I used cardboard moving boxes (is this considered to be heavy cardboard?). Should I have poked holes in them? How will I know if I am not getting proper drainage?

I've used a couple of layers of moving boxes without any drainage problems (in addition to weedblock). I bet you'll be fine.
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Post  boffer 4/22/2011, 6:51 pm

LOL You've really been gravedigging, buttaflie!

Learning to hydrate your MM properly is a matter of experience. Every box set-up is a little different. If you put water in the top and see it coming out the bottom somewhere, that is a good thing. It doesn't mean you've watered properly, it means you have good drainage. Having good drainage means that you don't have to worry about over-watering.

If you feel like you are watering and watering but no water is escaping out the bottom, then your weed barrier (whatever type you're using) has created a dam, or you have very sandy soil.

See if this can fit in with your planting plan: Leave a square empty for a while; water it just like you do your other squares that are planted. Every few days, use that square to reach to the bottom of the box to see how thoroughly you are watering. (The ol' finger test in the top one or two inches of MM doesn't help much.) The bottom shouldn't be soggy.

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Post  Furbalsmom 4/22/2011, 7:41 pm

Buttaflie wrote:Uh oh Cardboard instead of weed cloth? 601593 ...I used cardboard moving boxes (is this considered to be heavy cardboard?). Should I have poked holes in them? How will I know if I am not getting proper drainage?

If you find that the Mel's Mix is not draining properly, you could always take a philips head screw driver (kind of star shaped pointy screwdriver ) and poke holes through the Mels' Mix then through the cardboard into the dirt underneath your SFG bed. I think you said that you had dug up the weeds from an exisiting bed, then placed your SFG on top of that bed.
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Post  buttaflie143 4/22/2011, 9:18 pm

Yes, I dug it up and turned the soil over. But I still wanted to make sure the existing soil was weed free so I covered it. Overkill?
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Post  Furbalsmom 4/23/2011, 12:52 am

Not overkill at all. I had such a problem with weeds in my old style amended soil garden, I ended up losing a lot of produce to the weeds because I could not keep up. I would do whatever it takes to keep out the weeds.
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