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Old 06-12-2010, 07:23 AM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Greensboro, Alabama USA

The point of using cardboard is to maintain the structure of the soil and preserve microbes.
There are other advantages also to maintaining soil structure. There is an over view in the articles referenced in this thread.

Here is wikipedia on no till--a method of farming based on the observations of Masanabu Fukuoka.

The cardboard method
Some farmers who prefer to pursue a chemical-free management practice often rely on the use of normal, non-dyed corrugated cardboard for use on seed-beds and vegetable areas. Used correctly, cardboard placed on a specific area can A) keep important fungal hyphae and microorganisms in the soil intact B) prevent recurring weeds from popping up C) increase residual nitrogen and plant nutrients by top-composting plant residues and D) create valuable topsoil that is well suited for next years seeds or transplants. The plant residues (left over plant matter originating from cover crops, grass clippings, original plant life etc.) will rot while underneath the cardboard so long as it remains sufficiently moist. This rotting attracts worms and other beneficial microorganisms to the site of decomposition, and over a series of a few seasons (usually Spring-->Fall or Fall-->Spring) and up to a few years, will create a layer of rich topsoil. Plants can then be direct seeded into the soil come spring, or holes can be cut into the cardboard to allow for transplantation. Using this method in conjunction with other sustainable practices such as composting/vermicompost, cover crops and rotations are often considered beneficial to both land and those who take from it.
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