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Windy Island Acres
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If I cover (thriving) weeds with cardboard and 6-8 inches of soil and compost, will that smother them?
 

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For how long? What weeds?

Basically, yes, for soft fast-growing weeds that depend on overwhelming the opposition. However, if they have built-in reserves (oxalis, nut-grass, onionweed, sedge, others specific to your area) then you'd need to wait a LONG time before disturbing the area again. For REALLY aggressive weeds such as kikuyu or running bamboo, then the answer is no.

However, just slowing them down and weakening them is worth doing too.
 

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Yes - for a while. Then, once the cardboard breaks down, they'll come up with renewed strength because you've been so generous with the food! And of course, the seeds they've already sown will join them. Best to put down the cardboard thickly, then cover with at least 15-30cm (6-12") with straw or similar mulch. It won't stop the weeds altogether, but it slows them down. Plenty of people will recommend black plastic. The nearest I've come to using it is weed mat which also only slows the weeds down a bit.
 

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Windy Island Acres
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I wasn't going to disturb them, I wanted to build a raised bed on top of them, without ripping out whats there?
 

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If you have anything like crab grass or something similar, you are only changing the direction that they will grow-for a while. They will still send out runners underneath and grow out the side. (or at least this has been my experience.) I haven't figured out a way to totally get rid of crab grass organically without using a lot of elbow grease :) I don't use chemicals. However, if you have a way to put a pig on your plot for a week or so, it will work wonders. I put one in my garden the end of last summer, and talk about a major tilling machine :D He had that garden worked over beautifully. And I am talking about a serious case of crab grass.

Kathy
 

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suelandress said:
I wasn't going to disturb them, I wanted to build a raised bed on top of them, without ripping out whats there?
Hi Sue, I built two large raised beds last year, both about 50x50 with 2 paths separating them. I placed a thick layer of newspaper right on top of the grassy weeds that were growing there, then I dumped 12" top soil right on top. I mixed in some compost & away I went planting my new gardens.
It has been so successful, I will be building two more this season. Weeds need sunlight, just like any other plant & as long as it can't get it you're pretty safe.

The wind will always blow weed seeds onto your garden & birds will also, so don't break your neck trying to get rid of them all, as it really is impossible :no:

Using plastic like that 'black plastic', is damaging to the soil, your soil needs air & water too, plastic will smother it; though if your weeds are really bothersome, lay the plastic over the area for a few weeks in full sun, this will "cook" your weeds.

Mulching heavy with straw, wood chips etc, will keep your garden practically 'weed-free' & controllable on what does appear.
Good Luck! :)
 

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Windy Island Acres
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Discussion Starter #7
CMATE said:
Hi Sue, I built two large raised beds last year, both about 50x50 with 2 paths separating them. I placed a thick layer of newspaper right on top of the grassy weeds that were growing there, then I dumped 12" top soil right on top. I mixed in some compost & away I went planting my new gardens.
It has been so successful, I will be building two more this season. Weeds need sunlight, just like any other plant & as long as it can't get it you're pretty safe.

The wind will always blow weed seeds onto your garden & birds will also, so don't break your neck trying to get rid of them all, as it really is impossible :no:

Using plastic like that 'black plastic', is damaging to the soil, your soil needs air & water too, plastic will smother it; though if your weeds are really bothersome, lay the plastic over the area for a few weeks in full sun, this will "cook" your weeds.

Mulching heavy with straw, wood chips etc, will keep your garden practically 'weed-free' & controllable on what does appear.
Good Luck! :)

How do you access your veggies in the middle of those beds? Stepping stones?
 

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Windy Island Acres
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Discussion Starter #8
Don Armstrong said:
For how long? What weeds?

Basically, yes, for soft fast-growing weeds that depend on overwhelming the opposition. However, if they have built-in reserves (oxalis, nut-grass, onionweed, sedge, others specific to your area) then you'd need to wait a LONG time before disturbing the area again. For REALLY aggressive weeds such as kikuyu or running bamboo, then the answer is no.

However, just slowing them down and weakening them is worth doing too.

I't mostly tough grasses and poke weed.
 

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Hi again Sue,
To answer your question re how to reach my plants, YES I do use stepping stones. Though at this time I only have plants in these beds. I built them as a start to landscaping our deer-infested woodlands property, the whole newspaper thing really does work.
This coming season - if the snow ever melts - I am going to build my vegetable garden next to those original beds in a new bed that will be about the same size as the two together. The two differences are the wire cage I need to keep the deer/racoon/rodents out, and my growing beds will be approximately 3' diameter for more convenience.
To make the paths, I will shovel that fill onto my beds, then mulch heavily with straw to keep mud & weeds to a minimum. this way only the paths will compact down & I will never have to step onto my beds & they will be nice & deep for my veggie roots.
 

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Some strategies I use.....

1. Weeds are good compost and build the soil if your pile is hot enough.

2. There are gazillions of dormant seeds already in your soil anyway, so plant to keep them out of the light by intercropping, companion planting and soilbuilding to the point where the plants you want choke the weeds out. Diversity is a good thing in the garden. From the "Three Amigos" in rows (corn, beans, squash) to my tomatoe beds with marigolds, borage and basil around choking the weeds and even mint, that crazy invasive plant, will choke out around your peas and make them taste better and more bug free. (It also make good tea!) Choke the weeds out with your plants. By planting thick you will also greatly reduce water consumption.

3. Already above, but mulch early until the plants choke the weeds out, and where you have open areas mulch more. The worms will come up and drag the organic matter down, enriching your soil until you can fill the areas heavily.

4. Throw the young dandelions in with the salad.

5. As far as stepping stones, yes use them! There is always construction around here, and broken chunks of concrete are often free for the taking. Plant Thyme and other hardy herbs between them and you'll have another groundcover to the edges of your beds soon. Again, not only weed-choking, but water-holding :)

6. Again, the natural life-cycle of Mother Earth is to have things grow and return to the soil, thereby enriching it through a complex food cycle involving many organisms (including many microscopic ones). By returning the weeds to the soil via composting you will build rich soil that would be difficult to impossible to do with chemicals and a plow through single cropping.

That's my 2 cents, anyway.... 4 what it's worth ;>

~Michael in Boise.
 
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