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The Dark Side of No-Till, Lasagna or Sheet mulching w/ paper & cardboard

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by mdvaden, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    Nothing like a nice Grinch-like garden topic once in a while. Although its true, so that keeps it pretty upbeat and positive.

    Last month a thought comes to mind "what happens when paper is not recycled because of no-till gardening?". My answer resided with recyling information, not gardening information. Now, this depends on whether recycling is available near you.

    In short, putting cardboard or paper under compost means it's not recycled. Gardeners who do that, cause more trees to be cut down for brand new cardboard. The water use rises by hundreds and thousands of gallons when many gardeners practice sheet mulching.. There is a lot of electricity and oil consumption on top of that.

    As I researched this, my suspicions were confirmed, but the numbers were far greater than I had ever expected. Oh - air pollution too.

    The Dark Side of Lasagna Gardening

    Again, it's all a matter of where you live and whether or not your cardboard or paper would provide more benefit for recycling or not.

    Yours truly,

    The Grinch - LOL
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    That junk on the ground repels water rather than developing structure that allows it to percolate and retain in a balanced way. We should mimick the forest floor in developing good gardening soils, not throwing garbage around the flower/vegetable beds - no matter how close you live to recycling.
  3. pt03

    pt03 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 98

    Ya, it seems someone is fishing for hits to their commercial website in order to gain revenue from advertising. This subject has now been posted to at least seven different forums (and twice here!).:dizzy:
  4. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    Not too long before posting here, you were are the gardenweb and lawnsite about 4 minutes apart using the same hyperlink to the lasagna gardening article. You also posted your opinion off-topic in more than one place too, so welcome to reality pal. Are you predictable or what ... LOL :)

    Anyhow, my pages have value in that most of them cover bases better. Like the safe and toxic woods for birds page. On the topic of wood for perches, bar none, it's the best, according to people around the globe who raise parrots, and have emailed. So you bet I'm going to post these.

    And the internet does not run on water.

    But on this subject of sheet mulching, I've looked at at least 50 websites for starters, like blogs, and how many of them cover the pollution aspect? Yeah you pt03 .... you sidestepped that one. How many? Zero. Nada. That's when a gap needs to be filled with more information, more debate, more facts.

    So now we are back on track here. Sheet mulching has the potential to waste water, waste oil, waste electricity and pollute. Stay on topic next time.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2009
  5. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    I know that paper decays and that living things can be found later, but what you wrote has crossed my mind. Because I see living things under compost that has no garbage too. Ever seen any data for experiments on the exchange of gases before? For certain some kind of a seal is going to exist, but for how long? The closest thing I can think of, is that study was done for trees, that coarse mulch is better for trees than fine mulch, for easy water and air exchange in the soil. Basically, It seems more practical and beneficial to omit paper and cardboard and simply mulch after removing grass or weeds. In most cases, I've found that mulch like barkdust smothers 90% of grass and short weeds anyway, leaving just a few to handweed afterward.
  6. pt03

    pt03 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 98

    Aw Mario, are you upset?

    Debate? He He, that's funny, you've never debated anyone that replied to your posts, you ran away.

    Your link has advertising, something forbidden in a lot of forums yet you did/do it anyways. That tells me you lack integrity.

    You admitted you posted just to get input for your own website and then used that input on your website in violation of of forum rules. That tells me you lack honesty.

    I have to admit though that I am impressed that you can develop a theory, research it and come to absolute firm conclusions in a month. You oughta get in touch with some universities, they could probably use your investigative techniques to solve some of the worlds more pressing problems than whether someone uses cardboard in their garden. :laugh:

    Anyways, I have to get back to work, keep spamming.:clapping:

  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334


    I happen to agree sheet mulching is stoooopid.

    That said, your article is making some pretty wild assumptions (the biggest ones being the products used would actually be recycled along with your comments on drainage and compaction). In addition to that, the complete lack of references to support your assertions pretty much makes it nothing more than an opinion piece with no substantiation.
  8. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    What makes you think I have not been in touch?

    FYI, Oregon State University Extension changed a small part of their database based on one of my web pages. A forest scientist mentioned that they made some small alterations to their methods or scheduling, stemming from reading another page. And one other page was replicated online for arborists to get CEUs after reading and testing. Etc..

    The references might be handy to add. The only drawback is that various sites drop off the radar from time to time, and it's often better to have few or none. Just ran into that today on one of my pages where someone reported a link for a URL that was purchased by someone else.

    Not sure what you meant on the drainage or compaction. Did you mean another page?
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2009
  9. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    Think I found something that might work. Note that these were their assertions. I didn't invent this stuff. But the reference idea is a good one if one has a long shelf life.

    I noticed that Wikipedia has one on paper, which will make a good generic starter, since it explains the basic idea. Thanks for the suggestion.
  10. pt03

    pt03 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 98

    Ya, you're a legend in your own mind alright, those sound just like they will help solve some of the worlds more pressing problems.:rolleyes::laugh:

    Seeing as how you already admitted that you build your web pages by tossing it "into the fray" and harvesting other peoples ideas, I'm sure you gave credit to them for doing all the thinking parts.

    Seriously though, how much money do you make on those ads on your web pages? Do people have to actually click on one or do you get $$ just for visits to your page?:drinkup:


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