Friday, January 20, 2012

The Great Cardboard Project

Between holidays the boys and I have been trekking out to the community garden, weather permitting, to have a look around, play a bit in the adjacent soccer field, and continue work on the Great Cardboard Project.  It is astonishing to me how long this is taking.  My plan was to take the top inch or two of soil off the ground that will be paths next year, throw it onto the growing beds, cover the paths with cardboard, and cover the cardboard with some loose mulch like shredded leaves, or hay.  The cardboard would help to warm the soil while smothering weeds, and the mulch would help keep the cardboard in place and give us a nice, dry surface to walk on.  Meanwhile I'd be adding some nice topsoil to the beds and improving their drainage.  (Plants need moisture, but they also need air pockets in the soil for proper root function, so a freely draining soil is good.)  Hopefully I'd also be discouraging kid feet from landing in my growing beds.

I thought I could knock this out in a couple good hour-long visits to the plot.  Let's just say, it's taken longer than I expected.  The boys and I put in some good quality time this week digging up more of the paths, spreading more cardboard, and covering them with whatever dry materials I could find laying around the garden.  It's about 1/3 done, so I've got a ways to go, but it's looking much more respectable. 

Some semi-prepared paths and growing beds

In the process of doing this I pulled out a lot of the dried-up weeds from last year and found...holes!  Something has been burrowing in my garden!  I'm thinking it's either mice or snakes.  Probably mice, but I'm really conscious of the snakes now.  Besides the live one I encountered last fall, I also found a skeletonized snake head trapped in my bird netting when I took down last year's bean trellis.  (It was not just the skin, I swear.)  I'm hoping the burrows belong to mice and the removal of their concealment will cause them to either move over to the empty plot next door, or be eaten.  Mostly I'm hoping they'll be eaten.

1 comment:

  1. Are snakes good or bad? It seems like they'd be good, because they'd eat mice.