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RE: Misplaced Plants in the Garden

Thanks for your detailed response.

My thoughts on using paper tape to connect the newspaper section was to be able to create "row" rolls prior to Plant Day.  These rolls would be soaked the day before, then drained overnight.  This would enable the volunteers to roll out the rows, lighting cover with leaf mulch, then punch planting holes as needed.

We had a lot of volunteers prior to our Plant Day and this would be a great pre-plant task.  I really like to rock and "roll" on Plant Day.

I like the preemergence idea.  I am going to look into this aspect.  Especially if its organic.  This is not a true organic garden but I'm trying to go into that direction.  

I may end up trying various options next year, rolled newspaper, landscape fabric and preemergence.  I will look into the rolled brown wrapping paper as well. 

Sorry to hear the news on your newspaper delivery boy.    

Thanks for the great input,   Jim 

---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: "Sharon Gordon" <gordonse@one.net>
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2003 09:09:06 -0400

>It's been my experience that if you lay the newspaper down and then wet it,
>it generally stays.  Mulch on top is even better.  No need to tape it,
>though if you chose to you could make a homemade wheat flour and water paste
>for less cost and probably some elementary age students would have a great
>time gluing them together.  An easier thing might be to ask at a newspaper
>office for the end rolls of scrap newsprint.  They generally give these away
>or recycle them.  That way you would have a nice long piece and could just
>fold to fit your paths.
>My experience with landscape fabric has been that it's pretty nice the first
>year, but then:
>a) thereafter it doesn't look so great unless scrubbed clean
>b) if you put mulch on top, the mulch composts and a beautiful healthy crop
>of weeds then grows in it
>c) when it starts to break down, it's a messy nightmare.  You can't pull it
>up because it falls apart, yet it doesn't work because it is falling apart.
>Picking up the shredded pieces is right up there on the garden fun meter
>with dental flossing the entire garden.  And the little chunks of it
>reappear like tribbles.
>Never tried the brown wrapping paper.  I wonder if you could get end rolls
>of it for the asking at places that make brown paper bags?  Or if you could
>use brown paper grocery bags overlapped like shingles to cover a path?
>Another thing people use is 100% natural fiber carpet strips turned up side
>down.  This is very effective, but has it's own problems of differential
>rotting and the fact that stain retardant chemicals may have been applied to
>Some other things that might help:
>1)Planting biointensively.  The plants are put into weed free beds and they
>grow quickly to touch and shade out weeds.  My experience is that a 4 x 25
>foot bed takes 8 to 15 minutes each week to weed (or less) or 8 to 15 every
>three weeks if the summer is dry.  I don't know if you have used this method
>before, so it might be hard to believe how much this helps without trying
>it.  To experiment, you might try it with a fall lettuce or collard bed to
>see the incredible difference.  And it's especially beautiful with a lettuce
>mixture.  Also there is no need to make ends to the beds, you can have a bed
>4 feet by 200 feet and just start and stop different crops on your way down
>the row.  It's actually better from a space and yield standpoint for beds to
>be 5 feet by 20 feet for the 100 square feet norming, but usually only 6
>foot+ people can reach into the center so I use the 4x25 version.  The four
>foot width allows most people over age 12 to reach the centers.  If you do
>grow things biointensively, you cut the weeding down considerably, but you
>get usually at least two to four times more harvest, so the task time ratio
>changes.  Another benefit of biointensive is that the few weeds that come up
>get hand pulled rather than hoed, and this is easy with the noncompacted
>soil in the beds.  The paths tend to have few weeds as they become
>compacted, but they can be easily hoed by even an inexperienced person
>especially if you have a few of the hoes that are shaped like a stirrup.
>Also the beds don't need any sides, you can just heap the soil and plant.
>1a) You can combine biointensive, sheet composting, and lasagna gardening
>for timesaving.  For this you need at least one bed at any given time, where
>all the weeds can be piled and allowed to compost.  Once they have
>composted, you can plant there again.
>2)Renaming weeding to improve the psychological aspects of it.  It's more
>satisfying to "Harvest the mulch/compost/future fertilizer"  than it is to
>3) If the problem is more of motivating ongoing weeders, it can help to make
>the person's job identifiable and measurable.  An easy way to do this is
>with signs like they do for roadside cleanup.
>"Section 1 Tomatoes are maintained by Mary Jones."
>"Section 3 Pole Beans are maintained by Juan Castillo."
>"Section 1 Cucumbers are maintained by Joe's Fencing Inc."
>4) If the ever changing people from companies are the ones doing the
>weeding, you might have the groups weed distinct measurable sections first,
>then transplant, then harvest whenever they come.  This way the
>appealingness of the task increases as they progress through their tasks.
>When working with Junior High age thru adult age people, it helps
>psychologically if a task changes in some way about every 15 minutes. (For
>younger children, it varies from 5 to 10 minutes as they grow older.) So if
>you have 20 people from Huntsville's Home Lighting Factory divided into 5
>teams and working from 4 to 6:30 pm, their work plan might look something
>Team 1
>Harvest compost from Section 1 Tomatoes (as much as you can in 15 minutes)
>Harvest compost from Section 3 Squash  (as much as you can in 15 minutes)
>Transplant Broccoli in Section 3 Broccoli (estimated time 30 minutes)
>Harvest Section 3 Squash (that is this big or larger) (estimated time 15
>Weigh/Load produce 5 min
>Harvest Section 2 Pole beans (estimated time 20 minutes)
>Weigh/Load produce 5 min
>Harvest Section 1 Bell Peppers that are fully red (estimated time 15
>Weigh/Load produce 5 min
>Team 2
>Harvest compost from Section 2 Tomatoes (as much as you can in 15 minutes)
>Harvest compost from Section 1 Cucumbers  (as much as you can in 15 minutes)
>Transplant Cabbage in Section 1 Cabbage (estimated time 30 minutes)
>Harvest Section 1 Potatoes (estimated time 15 minutes)
>Weigh/Load produce 5 min
>Harvest Section 3 Pole beans (estimated time 20 minutes)
>Weigh/Load produce 5 min
>Harvest Section 2 Hungarian Sweet Peppers that are fully yellow (estimated
>time 15 minutes)
>Weigh/Load produce 5 min
>Teams 3- 5
>Doing the work in measurable chunks helps give people something to shoot for
>as well as a promised end to the less pleasing tasks.  Generally people will
>want to try to get ALL the weeds out of their section in the allotted time.
>But if they can't at least they have made a tremendous difference.  For
>transplanting, people need to know that good spacing and careful handling
>are more important than speed or completion.  And for harvesting, people
>need to know that careful handling of the plant and the produce are more
>important than getting the whole section harvested in the hoped for time.
>If they can't complete a section, they can mark it with a section marker, so
>the next crew can harvest from that point first before looping back around
>to the beginning of the section.
>>I thought, what planet did I land on?
>***It's an interesting planet isn't it?  And the car driven newspaper kid
>idea is less strange to me since our newspaper boy was killed by a hit and
>run driver a block from our house.  The corvette chauffeuring does seem a
>bit over the top.  But I dunno, in LA does the nanny drive the Mercedes or
>Rover if one of her charges wants a paper route?
>The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org
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