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planting ramps, then blueberries - and fighting goatweed  RSS feed

 
Steven Kovacs
Posts: 212
Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
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Along the perimeter of my property, I am planning to plant blueberries with ramps underneath. Right now that perimeter has goatweed / goutweed / Bishop's weed in it. The ramps arrive on Friday; the blueberries I haven't bought yet. I want to suppress the goatweed. What is my best strategy?

My current plan is as follows:
1) mark out where the blueberries will go
2) plant the ramps between those spots
3) put down cardboard around the ramps to shade out the goatweed immediately around them
4) plant the blueberries
5) put down cardboard everywhere except over the ramps and blueberries
6) soak the cardboard
7) put down mulch (wood chips and / or pine straw and / or maple leaves from my yard)

Does this make sense? Should I change anything about the plan?

Thanks!
 
Ben Johansen
Posts: 88
Location: Door County, WI
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fungi goat hunting solar trees woodworking
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Steven, hey. I'm not sure how well cardboard is going to work as a mulch for ramps, we get em wild here, and they spread out to form dense colonies under the maple trees that they seem to get along so well with. The leaf cover is dense in the spring, but not nearly so dense and light-proof as cardboard. Maybe try a thick mulch of leaves if you can find em, or a couple layers of newspaper? Otherwise, it would make sense to me to try and plant blueberries, lay down cardboard to subjugate the goatweed for this year's growing season, pull cardboard up in the fall and plant ramps under a mulch layer of something lighter so they can bring you leeky goodness next spring.
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Ramps are quite particular about their location.

They do well in a deciduous forest, but nowhere else.
They thrive in a moist location (forget raised beds unless you plan to water all year long).
They seem to need the sunshine before the trees leaf out, but cannot grow in sunshine after that point of the year. Except for that brief sunny period in the late winter/early spring, the sun is their enemy. They never go dormant. They are in a growth cycle all year long, even though they don't always show it.
 
Steven Kovacs
Posts: 212
Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
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Ben, John, thanks!

The area in question is very moist all year round, and under partial shade from a hornbeam, maples, and oaks; it does have some small (6' tall, scraggly) evergreens but I may trim those shortly so they don't cast shade on the ramps. What I ended up doing was planting them in the one spot that the goatweed hadn't yet taken over, and mulching them with oak and maple leaves. I'm going to try to kill off the goatweed using vinegar and sheet mulching, and probably transplant some of the ramps again in a year or two if I manage to get the goatweed mostly down. I won't extend the sheet mulching too close to the ramps. Between the evergreens and the goatweed, I'm basically just hoping the ramps survive this year to be moved to a slightly better spot later.

I think they'll have enough shade, but it's hard to tell - I pulled down an invasive vine (porcelain berry) that contributed to some of the shade last year, and our neighbor trimmed a bunch of the trees, so it's possible there won't be enough shade now.

Oh well, it's an experiment!
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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