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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Newspapers and firewood

Bear with me. Soon gardening season will be over and we'll be on to other things. This is about the ongoing lawn reduction program. The huge hostas and three small hollies that I moved from the plateau to the "hosta border extension" (what should I call this new place?) appear to have survived. So I had to figure out a way to get rid of all the grass in the leftover spaces.

I decided to go with the newspaper trick, which I've had good success with in the past. It happened to be recycling day today. I was stuck at home, waiting for four new tires to be attached to my car. The recycling bins at the high school (right across the street) were brimming to overflow with New York Timeses and Wall Street Journals (suspiciously unread-looking, for the most part). I took as much as I could carry in four trips, and spread them thickly around the hostas and the redbud, working with the hose to keep them dripping wet.
Sun and wind are the dual enemies of the newspaper trick. Once the papers dry, there is nothing to prevent them from flying all over the place. I had a few rocks, for starters. But I needed more. Lawn staples? A possibility.

That's when I thought of the neighbors' woodpile - a virtual termite farm that has been there forever, and was only inches away from the site in question. The "logs" worked perfectly to anchor the papers! And as I began to remove the logs, one by one, it was apparent that there was going to be lots of leaf mold and compost available in the same general vicinity.

Sorry - getting dark and I realized I didn't have a good "after" photo. I'll add some bagged mulch to finish it all off, but it won't take much. Success! So much so, that I went off to buy a few boxwoods to start the lawn reduction program, "front yard version".


Blogger sukipoet said...

Great post. I am all for lawn reduction myself. Very funny abt the newspapers. And so wonderful you have found all you needed right at hand, the wood, the future mulch. Looking good.

12:53 PM  
Blogger joco said...

You have me totally confused, and I hope you will explain:
Am I to understand that you start a new border or flowerbed right on top of your grass? With only a flimsy layer of inky printed paper to shield the new bed from grass growing through? And this works??
And then the second question: you were joking about the termites, right? You wouldn't introduce them into your own garden.

I am not being critcial here, just very surprised at this practice. Please enlighten me on how you made this work before. Anything to avoid digging and removing grass ;-)

2:16 AM  
Blogger sixty-five said...

Yes, believe it or not, it works! The system is described in a book called "Lasagna Gardening" by Patricia Lanza. Well, the newspapers, at any rate. The termites - well - termites are pretty much everywhere in the outdoors. I don't really know that they're in the woodpile - I'm just assuming so. Where you don't want them is in your HOUSE. So when a termite company comes to treat your house (if it is needed) they don't actually do anything to destroy the termites; they just install a chemical barrier around the house perimiter to prevent the termites from crossing.

4:11 AM  

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