My Research Results

Some weeks I feel like there was a lot to be done, and I got most of it done.  However, when I look around I have a hard time why those tasks took priority over what I really want to get done around the Micro Farm.  We did shampoo the carpets in the house this weekend.  Although I am pleased to have it done, I would not want to do it again in the next ten years!

While raking leaves this afternoon I examined the future garden beds covered with tarps.  I wanted to see how well, if at all, the tarps were killing the grass.  While doing my examination I realized I used three different type of tarps.  I though what a great opportunity to conduct some research.

The visual results.
Left – Black plastic; Middle – Blue tarp; Right – Clear plastic with Leaves

The black plastic is working best.  I blocks a lot, if not all, sunlight and that kills the grass quickly.

The blue tarp is doing the second best job.  This tarp is older and has some thin spots.  The grass is still green in the thin spots, but it is doing a good job killing grass.

The clear plastic is just starting to kill the grass.  About two weeks ago I covered the plastic with leaves (to help block sunlight) because the grass was growing very well under the plastic.  So with leaves it is starting to kill the grass.

Why am I trying to kill the grass?  The area under these tarps will be new planting beds next summer.  After three years, in a row, of cutting sod to create planting beds I needed another a more efficient method. Grass is also good at holding Nitrogen, an important element in plant growth.  It is difficult to add Nitrogen to the soil, and even more difficult to report in a soil test.  When I had my soil tested last February Nitrogen was not an item measured.  The helpful form of Nitrogen for plants is the gaseous form.  It moves through the soil very quickly, and measuring it yesterday does not indicate the level today.  So if the grass decomposes it will add Nitrogen to the soil.  Regardless of how long or short it will be important to have in the soil.

Sorry for the short post.  It has been a long weekend of shuffling furniture and other household items around the house.  Have you been doing any observational research this Fall?

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.

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