Fixing soil

digitS'

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I have a small area of the backyard garden that is in much too much shade for most garden plants to grow. It is essentially a wide path that once provided not only a part of a peripheral path but also access to the "Narnia Shed & Garden" on the other side of the back fence, in the neighbor's yard ;).

Anyway, I put down bark about 8 or 10 years ago. It held up quite well to a fair amount of traffic but in time, weeds that could tolerate that shade begin to grow. This Spring, I put down 2 layers of cardboard in that area. Maybe it would have worked better for laying out 1 layer but it would be wet and then dry and curl Well, it already didn't look very good so after about 9 weeks, I cut it up and threw it all in the garbage can. The bottom layer of cardboard was almost pulp while that top layer would dry and curl up.

It has been surprising to me how much the bark has deteriorated beneath that. Previously, it was beaten up and rather mixed up with soil but it almost all deteriorated away.

Steve
 

ZinHead

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What can I do to make this area soil healthy to plant in for next year?
I mostly have raised beds but I would like to start planting a few things in ground. What can I do this year to repair for next year. Besides buying a bag of dirt an throwing it on top.
Is it a spot you cleared or a spot where things won't grow?
 

flowerbug

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It has been surprising to me how much the bark has deteriorated beneath that. Previously, it was beaten up and rather mixed up with soil but it almost all deteriorated away.

i'd have scraped aside whatever of the bark i could and then topped the cardboard with that to hold it in place. i had a low spot covered half with chunks of bark with two layers of cardboard under that and didn't have any weeds show up in there for a few years. i redid the cardboard and it was ok for at least another year, but then we got some bricks to cover that spot so now it is called the Little Brick Road to Nowhere (weed barrier fabric went under the bricks and i won't be moving them again until i find some other use for them - if ever).

the main problem with any pathway here is control of the edges so weeds can't get under or grow up from the sides.
 

ducks4you

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Cardboard covered with pine shavings (or cedar shavings ONLY if there will be no livestock there) works, too.
Everything breaks down eventually. If thick, it will be harder for the weeds, but there is NO forever substance, bc even cement and ashphalt get cracks for weeds to grow in.
I have used GroundClear to kill weeds, then cardboard, then some kind of mulch and that works FOR A SEASON.
I don't think that you have the amount of acreage that I do--weed clearing/mowing on 5 acres. You can handle it, if you make the work into bite sized pieces to handle.
 

Manda_Rae

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Cardboard covered with pine shavings (or cedar shavings ONLY if there will be no livestock there) works, too.
Everything breaks down eventually. If thick, it will be harder for the weeds, but there is NO forever substance, bc even cement and ashphalt get cracks for weeds to grow in.
I have used GroundClear to kill weeds, then cardboard, then some kind of mulch and that works FOR A SEASON.
I don't think that you have the amount of acreage that I do--weed clearing/mowing on 5 acres. You can handle it, if you make the work into bite sized pieces to handle.
Our total property is 1acre-ish
My garden is expanding but slowly simple because I don't know how to kill the grass easily 🤣🤣
 

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