This is a question that I included in my first post but probably was overlooked. When using the "just put compost on cardboard" approach for a new no dig bed, is it possible to sow or plant deep rooted plants such as chard or beans? Will the young plants have trouble growing their roots or will the cardboeard be already sufficiently decayed so the roots can penetrate it easily?
So many reasons to say, “It depends.” The thickness of the cardboard, the prolonged wetness of the cardboard, the thickness of the organic matter above the cardboard, and the length of time the cardboard had to decompose before the roots try to grow.
I would poke at the cardboard at the time of planting. If there was a lot of resistance, I’d cut or poke a hole in the cardboard at the time of planting.
When I used to use this method (when I lived in Georgia---it simply does not work where I live now (California) for multiple reasons) I would always transplant vigorous transplants into holes punched into a cardboard-based mulch system. Tomatoes and sweet potatoes were reliable in spring and early summer....often I would grow them together and let the sweet potatoes form a groundcover under and around the caged or staked tomatoes. Fall planted brassicas would also do okay.....it is too cold a system to use for early spring plantings which benefit from the sun heating the bare soil.
I agree with Anne. A few years ago I cardboarded over a chunk of pasture and covered it with 1/2 to 1" of crappy topsoil. Then I planted sunflowers, oats and amaranth into it. It was a really dry summer (for us) and the cardboard stayed pretty dry. The oats and amaranth mostly died but a few made it. For the sunflowers I stabbed a hole through the dry cardboard wherever I planted a sunflower seed. The sunflowers did great (9' tall). If it had been a wet summer I'm guessing all the crops would have done just fine.
"Hundreds of years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in or the type of car I drove... But the world may be different because I did something so bafflingly crazy that it becomes a tourist destination"
I’m just starting this year with my food forest and experimenting with a variety of methods. I have noticed that cardboard and paper mulching drys quickly around the edges though it seems to stay moist underneath enough to degrade I hope. Maybe watering the plot heavily before planting, and after sowing, may help with the process.
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