What’s up with the Cardboard in the Keeler Gardens Pollinator Habitat?

Pollinator Habitat Progresses

We promised you regular updates about the pollinator habitat and we do have news.  Let’s start with the apparent mess in the parkway. You may be wondering why it looks like a random dispersion of debris, rest assured there is a method to our madness.

The parkway, grassy area between the sidewalk and the street, is completely covered with corrugated cardboard. This is the first step of lasagna gardening for the future pollinator habitat at Keeler Gardens.

Cardboard laid out preparing for pollinator habitat

Our parkway is presently mostly grass and to build the pollinator habitat in that space the grass needs to be removed.  One way to prepare a bed is to till it, cutting up all growth and turning it back into the soil. We wanted to avoid this process because it is actually detrimental to the soil at a microbial level.  We don’t want to disrupt the living aspect of the soil.

Another way to remove grass is to use a sod cutter.  This would slice off a layer that would include the grass, most of the roots, quite a bit of soil, and possibly a significant amount of the organisms in the soil, which are critical to soil health and, in turn, plant health. That seemed somewhat wasteful and disruptive to the ecosystem so we wanted a better option.

What we are doing is similar to lasagna gardening.  We are killing the grass by layering corrugated boxes over it. This does not have nearly as negative an impact on the microbial life in the soil, and the grass degrades back into the soil which is another plus. The cardboard will also degrade into the soil, faster once we get a top layer of organic material covering it.

Since this image was taken we have learned that People’s Gas will be doing some work in our area. We are uncertain how this will affect our plans, but we are fortunate the work is being done before we do any planting.

We will keep you updated as plans progress. Our next post will include an updated plant list so you can see all the wonderful flowers to expect this summer!

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