My garden is weedy. I'm tilling it and preparing it to plant. Yeah, yeah,
yeah, I waited a long time, I know.
I have what seems to be Bermuda grass or a variant. Stuff that has a
spreading root system. Hundreds of other garden variety weeds. I till and
till, and rake out the weeds and roots, but I know I won't get them all.
I use Roundup on my 2+ acre spread. I have heard that it only kills what it
comes in contact with, and doesn't work once it hits the soil. I'd like to
know if it is safe to use in the garden on the weedy areas, or will it stay
in there after I plant. Other suggestions for weed control that is plant
friendly would be appreciated.
I've had luck keeping Timothy grass at bay by using layers and layers of
paper and cardboard, with mulch (leaves and grass) on top. I have to
re-paper it in the fall, as the grass does tend to find a way to survive,
but it keeps the grass down during the growing season. If you do this for a
few seasons the grass may eventually become stressed enough that it just
the weeds would be effective -- and lay out perfect
garden beds at the same time.
That's a GREAT idea for a new garden plot! I'd follow it up with cardboard
& mulch, though, to keep the most hardy weeds down during the growing season
AND to add some organic stuff to the soil when it decomposes.
Unless one already has the plywood exterior ply doesn't come cheap... and a
4' X 8" plot is not much gardening space... I'd not bother with less than
six sheets. And you still need to till, pick rocks, rake, amend, and till
and rake again, and again. Killing the weeds by smothering or with
chemicals is a total waste of time, labor, and money... there is NO labor
free gardening. A good deep rototilling will dispatch any weeds/grass so
that those will never grow again... and NEW weeds are inevitable forever.
I've been preparing my garden for planting for two days now, I hope to
finish tomorrow and I plan to plant this weekend. Gardening is always work,
a lot of work.
It was always a lot of work for me too until I read Ruth Stout No-Work
Garden Book 30 years ago, what an eye opener. I just planted this
years crop, took about 5 minutes , just push aside the leaves and
planted the seed and covered it up. No tilling, fertilizing, I didn't
even bother to water, rain is expected soon. (for yield I get about 25
pounds of beans from a 4x8 size area, don't know if that is good or
not). I don't stake tomatoes either.
The secret is just to keep your soil covered with organic material 365
days a year like mother nature does, she'll take care of the rest
(weeding, fertilizing, watering etc)
If I was starting a new garden plot, I would spray one time with Roundup
(actually, probably a generic equivalent) in late spring when the weeds
and grass are growing good. Then that first year I would transplant in
warm season crops like tomatoes and peppers and eggplant, disturbing the
soil as little as possible. Mulch heavily with shredded paper and
leaves and other carbon-rich matter, supplying nitrogen as necessary
just to the plants (mostly in the form of diluted urine.) Keep adding
mulch as it disappears. Any weeds that come up will be starved for
nitrogen (by the decomposing mulch) until you get a chance to pull them
out. Just toss them on top to die and go back in the soil eventually.
Let the earthworms till the soil instead of you, and the dormant weed
seeds will stay dormant. You'll probably never have to use the Roundup
again. By the second year, you can probably grow beans and squash and
other direct-sown crops.
See, to me, putting poison on weeds is just a waste of good organic matter!
I prefer to either smother them, or if that's not possible, pull them and
put them back into the bed to rot. Either way it means more nutrients for
my garden. I used to loathe the thick stand of Timothy grass we have
invading our garden beds, but once I saw it as virtually the only source of
nitrogen in the later months of our dry, hot summer climate, I just get
excited when I see it growing well, because I get to chop it down and put it
on my vegetables!
People really need to understand that weeds are nature's way of protecting
the earth. When you expose a patch of earth bare (as with tilling), weeds
will sprout to cover it. You can't expect to have pure bare land. Killing
weeds solves a temporary problem but doesn't solve it forever, unless you
plan to keep putting poison on there year after year. When the ground is
bare, weeds will grow, no matter what you do. So the key is to NOT let the
ground remain uncovered. Mulches and cover crops can help protect the earth
so that weeds don't have to.
The original post was about Bermuda grass. This stuff is prolific and grows
around and through just about anything you throw at it. It laughs at
compost as an impediment. I've seen a clay pot full of pure, dry sand with
Bermuda sprouting out it. No, it was not rooting in the sand. The Bermuda
crept through the one drainaige hole at the bottom and worked its way to the
top. The pot was sitting on the edge of a concrete slab, the Bermuda crept
up 6" from the ground, then into the pot's bottom. In another similar case,
a pot sitting on a 4" thick flat rock. 16" tall pot. The pot did have soil
in it. Same thing.
I'm ignoring the newsgroup weblink police fanatic. If you look hard enough
on the internet, you will find that pigs can fly. Doesn't mean that I
If you remember, in my first post in this thread I recommended moving
:-) (to get rid of Bermuda.) I used to live in Houston, and for a while
in Temple, TX, I know about the stuff. That's why I'd wait until late
spring and spray everything with Roundup one time -- to kill the
Amen. The first year I tried to do a garden here, it was tons of work with
the tiller, and then the clayey soil compacted and left me with stunted
vegetables that became progressively more hidden in a sea of persistent
Then my husband piled that fall's leaves on one area, and when I went to
plant some tomatoes there, I found the soil deep, black, crumbly, and full
of earthworms! Got an incredible tomato crop in a plot that was barely ten
Since then I have put more work into it by making raised wooden beds, laying
down paper in the fall and piling the leaves and grass on top of that. But
yeah, in the spring, the work to prepare the garden is so light. I just pop
transplants right into the beds, no tilling or mixing or measuring. For
small-seeded beds, I make little furrows in the old leaves and throw some
compost in there to plant the seeds in. I can't believe I used to mess
around with a tiller and waste all that time and gasoline.
Well, no you wouldn't. If you start off by smothering the grasses with
plywood or some other solid surface, then you shouldn't till at all after
that. Tilling will just bring the submerged weed seeds to the surface and
you'll have the same problem over again. It's much better to smother
everything under where you want to plant (letting the old plants rot and add
nutrients to the soil), and then build on top of that to make new,
relatively weed-free soil. This is why I would advocate cardboard instead
of plywood (since cardboard can be left in place to decompose), but the
plywood *IS* a good idea if you can get it and don't mind moving it when it
comes time to plant.
A good, deep rototilling will also dredge up dormant weed seeds and bring
them back to life. With my clayey, weedy soil, I have found it infinitely
better to leave the tiller in the garage, and just pile organic stuff on top
of cardboard to make rich, fertile garden plots that are virtually
Again, the original subject was Bermuda grass. Not your generic "weed". If
you don't get the vast majority of the roots out of the soil, you might as
well thrown handfuls of Bermuda grass seed.
The major thing I disagree with the prior post is you have to actually use
your hands to aid getting these roots out of the soil. One needs to use a
spading fork or shovel to bring up a big chunk of soil. Then, allow it to
dry. Then, break each chunk down to free all the subsurface plant material.
Then, you can use power tools.
Again, the subject "weed" is Bermuda grass. It grows right through organic
stackage, wet newspaper, and around solid objects beneath the surface. The
OP did not mention clay soil that I've seen so far, so I don't see the
applicability here. Bermuda grass seeds and germinates that season. Any
remnants are not of any consequence. Timing is what's important, early
On a similar subject, does anyone know how to make Bermuda grass GROW?
We've tried planting it in our front and back yards several times now
(having given up hope with less-aggressive grasses), and we STILL can't get
it to grow. We water it, and it grows okay, and then the sun shines and
kills it all, until there's nothing left but bare ground (not even tufts of
dead grass). People here are talking about how it is impossible to get
Bermuda grass to stop growing, but I wonder how much of a start it needs to
get to the point where it is impervious to everything!
I've always started it from sod rather than seed, I prefer the hybrid
varieties. It seems to like a lot of water, at least until it gets
its roots down deep, then mine can go all summer without watering.
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