Using carpet to establish beds

kate2008July 28, 2008

I just moved into a house in the coastal area of the panhandle of Florida and have an expanse of grass surrounded by the standard 6 ft. board privacy fence in my backyard. I want to establish several fruiting bushes and small trees from figs, pomagranates to satsumas. Those will go in the sandy "soil" this fall. Under and in front of them and including unplanted areas on the fence line, I want to establish a four foot deep bed ( 2 ft for front vegetable plants) that surrounds the back yard along the fence line. The backyard faces south and is mostly sunny so it is perfect for growing vegetables along the fence for now.

I just had all the wall to wall carpet and underpad removed to replace with with wood flooring and saved it in four foot wide rolls to use to establish the beds. I can build the beds and divide the areas off for planting in the square foot method.

My question is: What is the best way to build the beds using the carpet as a base?

I think I will have to wheel barrow in hay bale by bale for mulch this fall and winter. I have been saving all paper products that will decompose readily and much of the kitchen garbage already goes to the compost area but mulch has been lacking and hard to find. I am new here and so still searching out sources.

I appreciate any pointers. Thanks.


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Melissa Houser

My first thought is this: What is the carpet material? Will it actually break down? Or, are you going to pull the carpet up after it kills the grass in the area?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 5:32PM
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Thanks for your response.
I could roll it back after it kills the grass but I hoped to leave it in place. The carpet is synthetic. The carpet padding looks soft and will probably break down quickly. I have heard of carpet squares being used for a square foot bed and almost all carpet is synthetic nowadays. I need to do this on a larger scale and then mark the squares off with string for the square foot organization.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 6:28PM
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fishymamas(z9, So. CA)

From what I've read, it seems everyone who used carpet leater regretted leaving it. I'd be far more willing to leave a cardboard bottom on your boxes that a carpet one, or maybe use the carpet ro smother the grass, then build the box in the dead spot left by removing the carpet.
But in the end it's your garden and your carpet.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 9:54PM
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fishymamas(z9, So. CA)

forgot link.

Here is a link that might be useful: carpet sfg search

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 9:59PM
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this is the first time i have put anything on a "thread" so forgive any faux pas. many years ago i used synthetic carpet on the paths of my garden. i wouldnt do it again for a million bucks. too many problems to list. good luck

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 2:47PM
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ROFL, you did fine carbu. I tried carpet a couple of years ago, and I wasn't happy with it at all. I have a friend who says she had to spend a few hours unweeding it to pull it up as it hadn't deteriorated at all and wasn't preventing weeds. Obviously, they just grew through it. Our area is very rainy, though, it might be different in area to area.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 3:50PM
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Mostly to get rid of my old carpet and not fill the landfill with it, I used it to kill the weeds next to my house. For me it worked for years, however I did not intend to garden in this spot, I eventually turned it into a pattio area. The carpet worked well for this purpose, I don't think i would keep it in place if I wanted to grow a garden.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 5:19PM
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I have heard that under some conditions mosquitos will breed underneath carpet used outside. Maybe your sandy soil drains too fast for this to happen, but if it doesn't, you may find a problem there. I have used carpet to smother grass short term, but find the solarization method works best.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 7:24PM
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