Attempt to make cardboard look interesting

Work on the Very Smallholding continues. Slowly. This is caused by a combination of cowardice, inexperience and having to split time between the ‘normal’ job, the bike shop job, three boys, the largest of whom turns nine this week, and renovating and repainting a very elderly bike for a car-free couple in the village. I’ll ramble about that later.

Right now we’re at stage one of Invasion of the Killer Mulch. We’re going for a ‘non dig’ gardening system after a day of spade wielding and potato planting resulted in mashed up clods of soil and a complete absence of anything potatoey.

The idea is that we lay cardboard where we want to have veggie and herb beds next year, and then add horse poo and a thick layer of grass clippings. The cardboard cuts off light to the plants beneath, while the horse poo and grass hold it down and spend the winter rotting down to give a perfect bed for planting next year. That’s the theory, and as it doesn’t involve digging I’m all for it.

The cardboard delivered last week is now out and already the brambles are staging a fightback and in some cases have broken through the cardboard in a bid for freedom. Obviously in a permaculture garden we aren’t going to spray even these rogue offshoots: that would be a travesty of our treehugging values. Instead, we chop as close to the cardboard as we can, and drop a paving slab on what’s left.

The next stage is getting the horse poo from a farm several kilometres away. This will be an interesting exercise with the Bakfiets.