straw, plastic, and dead grass

April 7, 2010

We started preparing the pumpkin patch. I have a sneaking suspicion that the entire patch that we staked out won’t be completely covered. It is a huge spot, and we started preparing at the west the corners. In one corner we put some plastic. A sheet of clear plastic, held down by logs, is supposed to “cook” the grass. At the same time, it allows the sunlight in, so the grass continues to grow (unlike with black plastic). The grass and root system then get tired from growing, and fried from overheating. Dead grass. When I write it all out like this, I feel a little bit cruel about the whole thing…After about a week, the plastic can be removed and placed on a new section of field, as the grass should be suitably cooked.

The second method might be a little more humane…killing grass by cardboard. We put a double layer of good quality cardboard over the second corner of the patch, and then covered it with a thick layer of straw. We used cardboard boxes, and took care to remove any plastic tape, so that we wouldn’t have loose strips of plastic floating around in the garden. The straw came along with its own version of life. Mushrooms, sprouts, and a few assorted grasses…hoping that this is ok. The whole thing is weighted down by logs, and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Last night we had a windy storm, and I was hoping for rain to soak the cardboard and straw, to weight the whole mess down. The wind didn’t blow away the straw, and the cardboard section is now soggy and seems well put. We are going to collect another batch of cardboard, and pick up some more plastic and continue on, bit by bit to take over as much of the field as we can before planting time. We still have a while before the time to plant comes along, so the field might end up rather big!

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