Saturday, February 14, 2009
CARDBOARD IS OUR FRIEND
i have a row of top hat blueberries that is always covered in weeds. I finally decided to do something about it besides pulling weeds from around the blueberries over and over again throughout the year. We had some cardboard that lay on the ground for about a year so it became well-inoculated with fungal mycelium. I dragged that over to the berry row (after weeding one (?) last time) and positioned it around the plants. There were lots of pill bugs attached to it who will shred up the bark under the cardboard (and the cardboard) making it appetizing to the bacteria who will turn it into plant food. My neighbor inexplicably had all the trees on her property cut down. About 18 trees, mostly pine. I was able to get a load of chipped up pine before she figured out she might want it for herself. I spread about 3-4 inches of the chips over the cardboard around the blueberries. The acidity of the pine will help the blueberries. The fungal mycelium will quickly run out from the cardboard and colonize the chips. Mushrooms will sprout one day.
Will this stop the weeds? For a while it will. But the enthusiastic efforts of the organisms in the soil food web will turn the chips and cardboard into soil. The weeds will grow in that soil and the cycle starts again.
P.S. Top hat blueberries are self-fertile thus requiring no additional variety to insure pollination. The plants stay small, about 3'x3' at maturity, making them good for pots, or as part of an edible landscape design, or in a small space where a larger variety might not work. The fruits are large and tasty, full of antioxidants.