Earthkeeping – Orchard Gardens

Holy Cross Lutheran Church

All That Cardboard

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Merry Christmas from Holy Cross Orchard Gardens.  We hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

Now, on to another topic relevant to the season.  What to do with the myriad of shipping boxes that have crossed your doorstep?  This year, I had surgery during prime shopping season and had to be off my feet so I did a lot of online orders.  I have a pile of boxes outside near my recycling bins.  But I have plans for them.  At Orchard Gardens, we have found that cardboard makes the most excellent weed block.  There is really no downside.  It’s biodegradable and pretty much free.  (I’d say completely free, but I had to buy something to get the box).  Flatten the box, remove any shipping tape or plastic shipping envelope.  Then place in the areas where you want to suppress weeds and place wood chips, bark or compost over it.  Generally, only use compost in the areas where you will be growing something.  If you are suppressing weeds, a thick layer of wood chips works the best.  You can buy chips in bags, or if there is a tree service truck in your neighborhood, you can ask them to dump the pile of chips in your driveway (they chip everything they put in the truck).    In this photo, I placed cardboard all around my compost bins and placed wood chips on top.  I also raked up cedar needles that my cedar tree sheds and put them on top.  Any grass or weeds that do try to grow are easy to pluck out.  Now probably in a year or two I’ll need to add more chips, but it’s pretty low maintenance.bins

In our orchard, we are in the process of putting cardboard and chips around the base of all the apples trees.  The tree will not have to compete with grass or weeds when growing and the chips will help keep the moisture in.

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