Good thing gardening isn’t rocket science. If it were, I’d have blown up a lot of spaceships. I just dealt with my latest mishap. The no-digging bed I created last fall with newspapers and leaves failed as a no-dig bed. Bermuda grass emerged from under the mulch.
Bermuda grass in the right place is great. It is the most common grass on area golf courses and soccer fields. But it is awful in a vegetable plot. It spreads roots that are capable of going through potatoes. The mulch cover I made was great for it. Everything else growing in the plot was smothered by the layer of three to four sheets of newspaper and three inches of leaves. I had seen this ability of Bermuda grass before. I hadn’t noticed that there was Bermuda grass in the plot when I covered it last fall.
Ten years ago I had put down a layer of newspapers and municipal mulch around my blueberry bushes. Municipal mulch is shredded brush clippings that Chattanooga residents can pick up at a city recycling center. That time I had layered 5-6 inches of the shredded wood chips over the newspaper. It was a significantly heavier layer and Bermuda grass came right through it. The blueberries did well sharing the spot with Bermuda grass so it was not a problem.
But in the bed where I had sweet potato starts ready to go in, Bermuda grass was not welcome. As I raked away the mulch many more shoots of grass were ready to show through. I took a fork and removed nearly a 5 gallon bucket full of Bermuda grass roots and shoots from the 4 X 10 foot plot. So much for the no-dig lasagna method on this plot. If it were boxing, round one would be scored a win for the Bermuda grass.
The digging did reveal an abundance of earthworms. The corn meal that I had spread before putting down the newspaper had the desired effect of attracting them. And after raking in some dehydrated alfalfa and lime, I have sweet potatoes planted. So maybe this wasn’t so much a blown up spaceship as a delayed launch.