Planting into manure on top of the cardboard mulch

Hi Charles
Just wanted to double check something as I begin preparing the beds for no-dig.
I have some perennial weeds (couch grass being one). Because of this, I am aiming to put down 2 layers of cardboard then top that with 6 inches of rotted manure/compost mix. This I hope will be enough to exclude light and, over the next year, kill off perennial weeds as well as the annuals.
My question is, can I plant straight away into this compost layer, even though it has cardboard underneath? Will the cardboard prevent roots growing down properly i.e. will it be in the way?
In an ideal world, I would leave the beds with the mulch for a year but I really need to make them work straight away. Digging out all the perennial weeds first is also not really an option because of current bad back! Any advice would be much appreciated.

 Glad you asked this Sarah Lou as the same question pops up when talking with other gardeners.

The answer is YES, sow and plant!! straightaway!!
Your cardboard will actually rot quite quickly under the damp manure and acts to slow down, rather than totally stop, the pushing up of couch grass and whatever other perennial weeds you have.

However it is helping, along with your six inch mulch of compost and manure, to weaken all weed roots and cause most of them to expire in the next few weeks or months. A few shoots will probably emerge between your healthily growing vegetables, and you can slip a trowel underneath them while admiring your food plants.

I have sown carrots in a bed of newly filled compost, six inches on top of green grass, buttercup and dandelion. The carrots grew brilliantly and none of the grass or weeds grew through, so they simply decomposed and turned to bare soil, under the compost, while the carrots (and lettuce, spinach, beetroot, peas) all grew happily on top. I am pretty sure that they were rooting into the soil around decomposing turf and weeds, for moisture at first, then nutrients after two or three months as decomposition was finishing.

And I hope your back recovers, maybe check out 'inversion tables' a great help to my back.


By charles

Thanks very much Charles, much appreciated. Will get sowing straight away!
And will look into the 'inversion tables' - back slowly getting worse so any suggestions are always welcome. Thanks again.

By Sarahlou