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Old 05-30-2012, 01:09 PM   #1
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Please help me answer these questions


Well, my in-laws are living with us for a few months helping taking care of our toddler while I am busy with the many remodeling projects on weekends and evenings. I am very thankful for their help.

However, since they are from China they do not understand many of the garden practices here. And since they are very eager to help out my projects, they try to impose what they think is correct on the work I do. Once I have a good explanation they will understand. But there are a few things that I just don't know why myself so they will try to do things their way. Please help me out on this:

1) We love MULCH. I like mulch too. But they hate mulch. I bought a few cubic yards of good quality redwood woodchips and plan to spread them on top of the exposed dirt area (~400 sq-ft totoal area, with some landscaping plants here and there.) In their eyes, these woodchips are dirty just like garbage, look ugly, foster insect activities and not good for the plants. What they plan to do is to use large sheets of plywood to place directly on top of the soil. What their arguments are: if I really put wood on top of dirt, plywood is a lot cleaner (on the surface) than wood chips and it doesn't got blown away by the wind. I know it's a very stupid and horrible idea doing this but I couldn't find a good explanation of why I can't use sheets of plywood instead of the woodchips. Please help me formulate a good explanation to satisfy these two kind old persons.

2) Raised veggiebed vs. recessed veggie bed. They don't like the raised flower bed I put together and they dig recessed veggie planting areas in the ground to grow vegetables. They claim my raised bed uses too much water and their recessed bed collects water and nutrients from nearby areas. Again, I let them use their recessed bed and I keep mine. So far, it seems their veggies grow just is fine as mine. But my gut feeling is telling me that something is not right about their approach. Again, please help me put together some explanations to defend my raisedbed.

Thanks!


Last edited by htabbas; 05-30-2012 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 05-30-2012, 02:23 PM   #2
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black sheets of weed guard and cider chips with the smell will help and raised beds have no water source except what you offer.... plastic tubing run around the perimeter(make holes with a nail) every 12" into the raised bed with a hose fitting will make it an easier water situation

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Old 05-30-2012, 04:04 PM   #3
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I would sooner look at ANY kind of mulch than sheets of plywood in my yard.

Plywood? really?
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Old 05-30-2012, 04:47 PM   #4
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I would sooner look at ANY kind of mulch than sheets of plywood in my yard.

Plywood? really?

I know I know, it takes a lot of imagination capability to propose plywood in the backyard. But I do need a more scientific/technical explanationfor not using sheets of plywood. Living with old people is hard, especially ones from a different culture/background.
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Old 05-30-2012, 05:41 PM   #5
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You put mulch on top of garden beds to retain moisture and inhibit weeds. There are other ways to accomplish those goals but many people like the natural, woodland look of the bark chips. I see no upside to plywood. Waste of money and resources. Pointless.

Raised beds give you a number of advantages - the soil warms up earlier in the spring allowing you to plant earlier - allows you to more easily create a better mix as the top soil is only so deep - it is easier to weed and harvest a raised bed.
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Old 05-30-2012, 07:00 PM   #6
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Mulch will decay naturally over time and enrich the soil. Mulch lets the soil 'breathe' and helps to retain moisture.

Plywood will decay over time and deposit glue, formaldehyde, and other nasty chemicals into the soil. Plywood will cause dead areas of soil, where the soil will not breathe and have no access to water. The bottom of the plywood will get nasty where you'll have anaerobic conditions with strange molds and fungus developing.
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Old 05-30-2012, 07:21 PM   #7
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So how are you supposed to get curved lines with the wood. What about the plants..cut out holes for them?

Maybe you can get them to compromise since they're leaving soon anyway. Plywood in the back for them and mulch in the front for you. Until they leave that is.
How about river rock, its cleaner and looks better anyway.
Good luck with your helpful inlaws. I hope you like the way they cook
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Old 05-31-2012, 07:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by htabbas View Post
I know I know, it takes a lot of imagination capability to propose plywood in the backyard. But I do need a more scientific/technical explanationfor not using sheets of plywood. Living with old people is hard, especially ones from a different culture/background.
Why? It is your house. You make the rules.
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Old 05-31-2012, 07:57 AM   #9
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wait until they start collecting and spreading 'manure'
then the mulch discussion will seem trivial
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Old 05-31-2012, 01:35 PM   #10
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wait until they start collecting and spreading 'manure'
then the mulch discussion will seem trivial
that'll be real fun. Luckily, Thank God, they think manure in the backyard is a bad idea too.
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Old 05-31-2012, 01:36 PM   #11
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Mulch will decay naturally over time and enrich the soil. Mulch lets the soil 'breathe' and helps to retain moisture.

Plywood will decay over time and deposit glue, formaldehyde, and other nasty chemicals into the soil. Plywood will cause dead areas of soil, where the soil will not breathe and have no access to water. The bottom of the plywood will get nasty where you'll have anaerobic conditions with strange molds and fungus developing.
Thanks a lot GardenConcept. You hit nail right on the head! This is exactly what I am lookin for.
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:59 AM   #12
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htabbas,

what a kind person you are to be so considerate and tactful with your in-laws.
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Old 06-02-2012, 01:33 AM   #13
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htabbas,

what a kind person you are to be so considerate and tactful with your in-laws.
Both me and my wife have pretty busy careers so without their help, we could barely take care of our kid. Now, I have the time to do some home improvement projects: total redesign of my front/backyard (large paver patios, relocate lawns, fence, driveways, trees, etc) + 2 bathroom remodeling. It's fun.

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