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Getting ready to start first no till garden. According to Paul's website we should lay news paper down on the grass, then lay compost, wood chips and then manure on top.
Is the newspaper put down to kill the grass ? If so can I simply rototill the top inch or so and remove the grass and then by pass the laying of the news paper?

Thanks for any help,
Ronald
 
pollinator
Posts: 830
Location: North Carolina zone 7
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As strange as it sounds I’ve found the cardboard to be a great soil conditioner. It does take care of the weeds where tilling just breaks them up. They will be back in no time and growing right through the rest of the layers. They will however, be much easier to pull. I’ve done plenty of no till beds without cardboard and they all turned out fine. I would try both and see how you feel about it later. If you find them to be equal skip the cardboard next time.
As far as tilling...... I’m a fan of one time till. Get the contours right then never mess with it again.
Good luck and keep us posted!
 
ron ritz
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Will supplementing new wood chip garden with Urea fertilizer help maintain nitrogen from wood chip depletion and perhaps help wood chips breakdown quicker ?
( We do no have chickens to fertilize our wood chips, just compost/manure underneath )

Thanks,
Ronald
 
Scott Stiller
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Location: North Carolina zone 7
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Good morning Ron. I believe that it’s absolutely fine to do that. I used to be very careful and overthought this quite a bit. A couple years ago I took a trailer to a friends chicken farm and loaded up. Unmixed and not aged I put several inches on top of a deep wood chip bed and hard clay that I was trying to condition for later use. I ended up with the best corn crop I ever had. All by accident too. I ordered too much corn and didn’t want it wasted. Several inches on clay and wood chips convinced me to stop worrying so much.
 
pollinator
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I'd be cautious about tilling up the grass if you have noxious perennial weeds in it.  We have lots of crabgrass and occasionally have a bit of it poke up through the cardboard and mulch. Of course the deeper your mulch is the better.  
 
pollinator
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A word of warning.

Paul talks about using wood chips, but what in not made clear in the video is the most of his mulch has been used in the chicken run first, then sifted and spread. By the time that is done it gains lots of nutrients, and is a nice fine tilth.

Spreading chips directly can work, but expect slow growth due to limited nitrogen, and it takes time for the chips to break down and begin to integrate with the soil layer.

I now let my delivered wood. Hips break down for at least 12 months before applying it.
 
Scott Stiller
pollinator
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Location: North Carolina zone 7
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@Michelle. There’s many reasons to hate crabgrass. I like it though, because my chickens like it.
@Michael. Since messing up I’ve sense learned this. I was very hot on using wood chips and didn’t consider looking into it further. I won’t make that mistake again. I have learned that direct seeding into them is difficult. Transplanting a healthy plant into them isn’t too bad.
 
pollinator
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Location: Zone 9A, 45S 168E, 329m Queenstown, NZ
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Definitely don't till if you have crabgrass in your garden. I inherited a plot at our community garden where the previous gardener rototilled every year and all the couch aka twitch as it's known in NZ was chopped up into tiny pieces. Fortunately, a friend dropped off several trailer loads of woodchips 18 months ago that I spread over the entire plot. Where i'd laid down cardboard first, it took longer for the couch grass to grow through. Much as I'd love to be no till, I have to dig out the couch otherwise it literally grows through any under ground crops that I plant - potatoes, garlic bulbs. Despite the mulch being over a foot deep, the couch is still growing. Where there wasn't any cardboard under the mulch, the couch grew in a thick mat. Any above ground crops are fine, I just scrape back the mulch and plant into the soil. The previous plot holder planted asparagus that had become overwhelmed by the couch which completely recovered when mulched.
20200614_113715.jpg
autumn leaves on top of woodchips
autumn leaves on top of woodchips
20200615_105523.jpg
couch rhizomes growing under the mulch
couch rhizomes growing under the mulch
20200601_123640.jpg
a dense mat of couch rhizomes
a dense mat of couch rhizomes
20190515_075011.jpg
asparagus pre mulching
asparagus pre mulching
20200302_081539.jpg
asparagus after mulching
asparagus after mulching
 
Scott Stiller
pollinator
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Location: North Carolina zone 7
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I see the problem Megan. That’s what we call Bermuda grass. It makes a great lawn here or golf course. It’s terrible in the garden though. You can mulch it all day and it still comes though eventually. I do believe the mulch weakens it and is much easier to pull out. Even if they hadn’t have tilled it would still be a problem for you. The only chemical control I’m comfortable using is white vinegar. Best sprayed on a hot day it will knock it back and buy you time during the growing season.
Crabgrass is a different animal. It’s a robust seasonal grass that spreads by seed. A single mature plant can produce up to two hundred and fifty thousand seeds. All of them are edible and chickens love them. Mine will walk around running their beak all the way down and pulling off the seed. The crabgrass grows from a center point out, Bermuda runs and pops up anywhere it likes.
Anyway, your garden looks terrific and other than adding white vinegar you’re doing everything you can.
PS. There are chemical controls you can buy if you are desperate. I’m very skeptical of anything that says it can kill Bermuda grass. Those roots go down 2-3 feet!
PS. Those Italian Cypress in picture four look a little rough. I don’t know about your soil situation but here there’s a lot of clay. The trees will live 7-10 years and die. The only thing that’s been proven to help is mushroom compost. I know how strange that sounds. At this point you’d just add it on top of the soil around your trees and scratch it into the soil as best you can. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
 
Megan Palmer
pollinator
Posts: 168
Location: Zone 9A, 45S 168E, 329m Queenstown, NZ
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Hello Scott, the trees are Lombardy poplars. The gardens are within council land with a wetland to the south. The soil is very light, we are set in a gorge that would have been a riverbed so there are lots of rocks just a spade's depth. I've been gardening here since 2008 and the couch is a constant battle but as generous mulching definitely makes it much easier to remove! I've been fortunate and some winecaps came in with one load of mulch and I'm hoping that they will reappear if I keep topping up the mulch.


 
gardener
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Location: Central Texas
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ron ritz wrote:Will supplementing new wood chip garden with Urea fertilizer help maintain nitrogen from wood chip depletion and perhaps help wood chips breakdown quicker ?
( We do no have chickens to fertilize our wood chips, just compost/manure underneath )

Thanks,
Ronald



Ronald,
I have had good results with mixing the semi-fresh wood chips with fresh & aged manure (rabbit) in the garden. I did it in fall, and let it sit through a mild winter, and found it had broken down quite a bit when I went to plant in spring. The beds where I layered the manure & chips, separately, did not show nearly as much break down in either layer.
I found it was easy to rake back the chips and plant in the soil in the areas where I mixed the two. In the layered places, it was more difficult to dig down to the soil.
I started with about 10 inches of mulch when I put it down in the fall, and it was probably just half that deep when planting in the spring.
gift
 
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