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I have a large backyard that has just been allowed to grow wild. We mow it, but don't fertilize, kill weeds or plant grass...so it's a great mixture of clover and dandelions!

I paid a guy to come out and install a raised bed for me since I wasn't too much of a gardener, but it has been such fun that I now want to use my backyard for a fall garden. Thing is, I don't want to pay the guy to come do it since I'm quite able-bodied, I just don't know how. (I got a late start on my summer garden so I can't use the bed he put down-and want to get caught up in the right season so I'm not always behind. Plus-it's not nearly large enough for what I want.)

I was thinking I could lay down black plastic on the plot where I want to plant and kill the vegetation that way-but wasn't sure if this would work. I was to stay away from chemicals if at all possible.

What's the best way to do this?


Thanks!
Shannon
 

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Like you, I'm organic. As you suggested, you could put down a covering of plastic and pin it over the section you want to kill. Within a short time, I'm guessing a couple weeks, the area will be solarized and the grass dead. You can then remove the plastic.

Jeavons would tell you to double dig down under the raised bed to allow for root growth. I didn't. I just put down a layer of cardboard, grocery store paper bags, or several layers of newspaper which will decompose over time and form a barrier to grass/weed root growth.

Good luck with your project!
 

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I too have had to make a garden where there was none for years. For tomatoes and other single plants, I dug a hole in the yardand planted the plant and then laid down cardboard/newspaper depending on the strength of what I as trying to cover and then tons of old straw/hay. For row veggies like carrots I laid down a double layer of plastic and burned it alive. I have found that in my corn patch the grass came back joy so I laid clear plastic downand cut holes for corn and covered with hay/straw to shade the ground under plastic. When the corn is bigger I will remove the plastic and lay down paper/newspaper again. I am having to go in on occasion and add a layer of newspaper in some places where the weeds poke through, but that is taking care of it. By next year hope that the garden is better and ready for planting without the cardboard. I should have really rich soil by then. But not weeding is great. Also, we have been very dry. I haven't really watered. I dug down under everything and felt the ground. I was suprise at how cool and moist it was. Yeah!
 

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Clear plastic works best from the studies I read. Water the soil well before laying down the plastic so it really cooks the soil. Then put layers of newspaper, cardboard, grass clippings, chopped leaves, whatever organic material you can get your hands on. I had some trouble with not having "soil" in a couple really thick duck poop and wood shaving areas so I scooped out a depression for each young plant and filled the spot with bagged topsoil. Then planted the little plants in the topsoil. It worked very well.
 

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I have used plastic three different times to clear an area like you are talking about. I planted in holes I made in the plastic and was still able to get some crops. The next year the entire area was clear enough I could remove the black plastic. I tilled the garden area and then switched to newspaper and mulch.

The clover will be stubborn, but it will work.
 

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Well, I don't have advice for you as far as how to do this, but I wanted to commend you on thinking ahead enough to do it. I didn't and right now the grass and weeds are taking over my garden and I am not quite sure what to do about it. I already have plans for next year, but I now wish I would have done things differently this year... oh well, live and learn!
God bless you and yours
Deb
 

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From another post of mine,

That's right, NOTHING -- NO till, then:
  • Cut the grass,
  • Put down 3" or 4" of compost or well-rotted manure,
  • Put down four layers of newspaper,
  • Wet them down,
  • Put on 8" of straw, moldy hay, leaves, etc for mulch,
  • Dig hole just for the seeds and plants you will plant this year,
  • Add more mulch as needed,
  • If up north like we are, start garden a little later, or remove the mulch at the planting area one or two weeks before planting, to let soil warm up,
  • The soil gets worked up well and there is no disruption to the rich upper layer, worms do a lot of the work, I think, and the newspaper adds to the soil, and helps keep out the weeds -- still a few -- but the newspaper blocks them -- mostly.
That's it, it works, we use drip irrigation with that system, less weeds, and if put drip, or the pump, on a timer, then you don't have to be there to water.


This Was a Hay Field The Year Before Last Year, Now a Garden, Cucumbers, Lettuce, and Garlic, in July.

Good Luck with NO Till,

Alex
 
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