General Discussion:

Carpet technique to "eliminate" back pain

Messages posted to thread:

Wilma04-Aug-00 08:54 AM EST   
Phil Myre04-Aug-00 09:45 AM EST   
Joanne04-Aug-00 01:00 PM EST   
barb04-Aug-00 07:58 PM EST   
Chris04-Aug-00 08:26 PM EST   

Subject: Carpet technique to
From: Wilma
Date: 04-Aug-00 08:54 AM EST

Here's a suggestion for all of you who are planning new planting areas. I prepare spots where I want to put in new flowerbeds by covering the sites with old carpeting a year in advance. Carpeting seems to work better than black plastic. (I suspect that this is because black plastic allows the soil to get too hot for earthworms to be comfortable underneath. Whenever I lift a corner of the carpeting to check on the progress, I find huge populations of earthworms busily at work "composting" the dead vegetation.) After a year, or more, absolutely no vegetation remains. I then cover the area with either cardboard or wet newspaper, add a thick layer of fresh soil and compost on top, and plant. I like working with cardboard better because you can quickly cover large areas, and it's easier to handle. On the other hand, wet newspaper is better if you're preparing a site on uneven terrain or a slope. I have a large property with lots of flowerbeds, trails, etc. and I really hate digging. My carpet technique really saves on back strain. You can cover the carpeting with wood chips or some other mulch if it is in a place where it would be an eyesore.

Large quantities of old carpeting can usually be obtained free from any carpeting retailer/installer (you just have to find a way to bring it home). In fact, tradesmen sometimes have to pay a fee for dumping old carpeting and they might be very pleased to get rid of it for free. Mine come from an office complex where all the carpeting was replaced a few years ago. The stuff lasts forever, and can be moved and reused almost endlessly. If you don't need it anymore, you can pass it on to someone else.

I don't till the soil at least until after using the carpet technique, and usually not even then. Many "undesirables" (quack-grass, wild raspberries, horsetail, etc.) spread even more quickly if you break up the roots, and I find that tilling is only really necessary for vegetable gardens. You can get rid of any really tough weeds with a single application of Wipe-Out (it even takes care of horsetail).

If you want to prepare and, especially, maintain a large garden, it's really worth properly preparing the soil, even if it takes a year or two longer. It's hard to be patient, but it's soooo much easier and more pleasant to take care of a garden that started out right. And in the meantime, you can draw up proper plans for your garden, buy small plants and grow them out in a nursery bed, scrounge other gardening materials, compost free organic materials, etc.

Subject: RE: Carpet technique to
From: Phil Myre
Date: 04-Aug-00 09:45 AM EST

Hi Wilma you are so right to save your back is a true blessing, as I live with severe Back pain and had I not had raised beds your idea is tops for the day (very smart too)people who have not ever had severe back pain take heed if you want to garden the easy way .GOOD LUCK to all keep the ideas coming Phil

Subject: RE: Carpet technique to
From: Joanne
Date: 04-Aug-00 01:00 PM EST

Wilma, thanks for the tip. I can really use this one.

Subject: RE: Carpet technique to
From: barb
Date: 04-Aug-00 07:58 PM EST

Great idea! I have had good success creating new beds just by covering the area of sod with newspaper 8 layers thick. Then I pile on garden soil 12 inches deep,plant, and cover with bark mulch. Instant garden and warm to as the grass decomposes! 1-2 years later you can plant deep ie trees and the newspaper and grass are beautiful rich soil underneath.

Subject: RE: Carpet technique to
From: Chris
Date: 04-Aug-00 08:26 PM EST

I did a similar thing. In the fall I covered the grass with layers of newspaper. then I covered with compost, leaves & soil and left it over the winter. In the spring I planted potatoes to help break up the soil. This did a wonderful job and no digging up grass! Easy on the back too!! Chris

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