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Newspapers vs Weed Cloth

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Newspapers vs Weed Cloth

Post  Saazhops on 1/22/2018, 9:45 am

Thoughts about using newspapers instead of weed cloth as base for Mel's Mix.  My soil is pretty decent as I've tilled it for some time now in my current raised bed; used newspapers in the past.  Thanks.
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Re: Newspapers vs Weed Cloth

Post  Kelejan on 1/22/2018, 1:23 pm

First of all, Saazhops. glad you\'re here happy hi 
from Kelejan from British Columba. :canada:

I think newspapers are better as a base for covering with Mels Mix as the newspaper does add nutrients to the soil. Enough layers will also impede weeds. Using weed cloth as a barrier, the cloth will eventually fall to pieces. Why not try both in different beds and let us know your results?

I am sure others will give their opinion in time.
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Re: Newspapers vs Weed Cloth

Post  sanderson on 1/22/2018, 2:30 pm

Saazhops, Welcome to the Forum!  glad you\'re here  

Some are SFG purists (like me Very Happy and use weed cloth).  Others use newspapers or cardboard.

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Re: Newspapers vs Weed Cloth

Post  yolos on 1/22/2018, 10:03 pm

I used newspapers in the paths the first year and then covered them with wheat straw to keep down the weeds.  That worked great for the first year but they were decomposed by the second year.  In the bottom of my beds I have exclusively used cardboard.  So far that has worked perfectly for me.  It will eventually decompose and will allow worms into the beds and will have served its purpose in keeping seeds under the cardboard from sprouting.  By the second year, it is mostly still there but any perennial weeds/grasses can grow in from the bottom or sides (ie Bermuda grass).  But the decomposition of the cardboard attracts worms and adds to the composition of the soil.
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Re: Newspapers vs Weed Cloth

Post  AtlantaMarie on 1/23/2018, 6:31 am

Hi Saazhops! Welcome from Atlanta, GA!

We use weed cloth & cardboard in the bottom of our boxes when we build them. The cardboard is layered between 2 layers of cloth.

Then I put newspaper in the bottom of the boxes. When I do my clean-up, I sort the MM all the way to the bottom & put more newspaper down.

I'm kind of re-thinking all of that now as I've realized I'm messing up all the microscopic life down there.... (Thanks, Jimmy Cee!)
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Thanks and Clarification

Post  Saazhops on 1/23/2018, 8:48 am

Thanks to everyone for all the great input.  I'm new to SFG and need a clarification from AtlantaMarie.  What do mean by "clean up" and "sorting Mels Mix all the way down."  And  what is it that you are re-thinking; using cardboard and newspaper or sorting all the way down.  Thanks, much appreciated.
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Re: Newspapers vs Weed Cloth

Post  has55 on 1/24/2018, 3:41 am



yolos is right about the grass coming in from the sides unless you put some type of barrier. I put cardboard down around my beds then covered with wood chips mulch to smother the grass and have a clean walkway.
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Re: Newspapers vs Weed Cloth

Post  sanderson on 1/24/2018, 3:52 am

Yes, the isles are also important as far a weed control.  Weeds in the isles can mean weeds in the beds, eventually.  Weed fabric and wood chips isles:

Before:

After weeding:

Weed fabric down:

With new wood chips:

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Re: Newspapers vs Weed Cloth

Post  AtlantaMarie on 1/24/2018, 8:26 am

@Saazhops wrote:Thanks to everyone for all the great input.  I'm new to SFG and need a clarification from AtlantaMarie.  What do mean by "clean up" and "sorting Mels Mix all the way down."  And  what is it that you are re-thinking; using cardboard and newspaper or sorting all the way down.  Thanks, much appreciated.

Well, at the end of the season, you need to pull old plants, etc. That's the clean-up.

I use cypress mulch that breaks down very slowly. So I can re-use it from year to year. And I like to make sure that the MM is still nice & loose at the end of the season, so my husband built me a box with 1/2" screening fabric in it. I dump the MM in & shake it through to get all the old roots, the mulch, etc. out of it. I add compost at that time. My habit has been to go all the way to the bottom of the box & lay more newspaper in there to continue to block weeds. This whole process is what I am re-thinking...

Another member, Jimmy Cee, spread the news about a couple of books that I am very slowly going through. Teaming with Microbes, Teaming with Nutrients, Teaming with Fungi (Haven't gotten the last one yet). These books talk about the on-going process of microscopic "critters" that help build up soil. I'm questioning myself on how badly I am messing up THEIR work...

I would also like to add the importance of making sure you have barriers around the perimeter of your beds. ESPECIALLY if they're against a fence-line. You need to have something like plastic between fences & beds if they're very close together. Or weeds & grasses will build up between the fence & bed & it's MISERABLE! Especially if your neighbor has a tree that puts out a prolific amount of seeds. I'm having to deal with pulling seedlings out along with the weeds & grass.....
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Re: Newspapers vs Weed Cloth

Post  has55 on 1/25/2018, 8:21 pm

Sanderson I love those tabletops .
The isles look great :
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Re: Newspapers vs Weed Cloth

Post  sanderson on 1/26/2018, 1:44 am

Thanks, Has.

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Re: Newspapers vs Weed Cloth

Post  SQWIB on 1/26/2018, 7:14 am

Yes those beds and pathways look great, I especially like the way you built that one bed with the 2x4 sides of the narrow part of the bed extending out past the long side, definitely more structure that way.


Put a 2x6 cap on those beds so you can sit and play with the garden Very Happy
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Re: Newspapers vs Weed Cloth

Post  sanderson on 1/26/2018, 5:13 pm

Sqwib,  Actually, they way that bed was built was a mistake.  Embarassed When the plywood bottom rots (still waiting and waiting), it will be reconfigured.  However, that bed was moved across the grass/dirt with brute force and it proved to be very sturdy, probably due to the bolts on the legs and long sides.

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