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Organic Gardening: Pre-Emergent and weed attenuation

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Forum: Organic GardeningReplies: 15, Views: 194
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sublimaze1
Frisco, TX
(Zone 7b)

July 16, 2009
1:10 AM

Post #6824662

This is the fourth year of my organic vegetable garden. The first two were easy and weed-less (essentially). Last year was tough for me, and I hand weeded three times, each time taking four days. This year had beaten me. So I would like to start over (at the end of this season) and kill everything organically.

Corn gluten meal and acetic acid have been named, but I need some guidance.

I am getting peppers and tomatoes this year, so I am going to let them grow until the end of the season. I also have eleven thousand basil plants. I don't need that many ...

Anyhow, if someone can help me plan out an approach for the end of the season and into next, I would appreciate it.

Thanks
WJ
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

July 17, 2009
3:38 PM

Post #6830739

WJ, we have little to no weeds in over 10,000 sq ft of vegetable gardens but I mulch everything including the pathways with grass clippings. We mow over 4 acres and bag it all. It is then dumped into the isles in the garden to be used as mulch. My rows are 30 ft long, 4 ft wide and raised 1 ft high with 1-2 ft isles between them. Mulch is at least 4 inches deep, 6+ in most areas.
The only time I've had trouble was when I used clippings from the golf course lot and got a rain immediately after. They sprouted and grew, but were pretty easy to pull out. Now I let the golf course clippings stay in the bags for a few days in the hot sun and they don't sprout.
I think the most important part of weed control is to NOT let them go to seed.
You can also spread clear plastic over the ground and solarize the soil for next year. It takes a while and needs hot sun to work.
bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

September 19, 2009
9:41 PM

Post #7081988

Our garden are weed free also. DH dumps new grass clippings on the path ways and we use our aged compost between plants after they are planted and after stakes are in place.. I had learned a lot over the years and it had been trial and error. Our garden now are stress free so we are able to do more to do things that we love to do like palying golf more often. Belle

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

September 22, 2009
4:11 PM

Post #7091949

WJ - did you my any chance purchase some top soil, or manure? Maybe that's where you weeds came from.

As others have said, if you keep layering compost on your beds, the weeds should not be a problem.

I use leaves between my garden beds to keep the weeds down - the earthworms love it! Hubby and I are already starting to collect this year's Fall leaves to replace the ones that have broken down over the summer. All the worm castings are going into the winter beds to feed the micro-organisms, which, in turn will feed our veggies next year - I said to my hubby the other day - "You know that eventually we end up eating these leaves!" LOL

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

September 23, 2009
11:23 AM

Post #7094965

We leave our grass clippings on the lawn so that's not an option for us, but I have never been able to remain weed-free no matter what I do. This year I'm going to try putting down a layer of cardboard topped with salt hay on my rows after I pull out the veggies. I use wood chips over landscape cloth as 18" paths between my 30" wide rows, but eventually they develop enough humus, as the chips break down and soil drifts over to them, that weeds will grow in those areas too. They're pretty easy to pull out, though. We just bought a bunch of salt hay bales and are going to try to mulch more next summer and see if that helps.

We're going to need all of our leaves to fill the fence around our fig trees to protect them from the cold!

One obvious source of weeds, though, was a friend's horse manure; it seemed to bring a lot of new types of plants into the garden. They referred to it as compost but obviously it hadn't cooked enough.
bellieg
Virginia Beach, VA

September 23, 2009
11:40 AM

Post #7095002

Been gardening for years both flowers and veggie and learned a lot over the years, used hay too and they are not practical at all because they are expensive here. On my way to work one day I saw a big sign, horse manure for free and so i got me heavy duty bags and helped myself with manure but i got so much weeds that that was my first and last for horse manure. Hay was the same way!!! The compost is the way to go for us and new grass clipping on my walks. fresh grass clipping becomes hot before it decomposes and the heat kills all weeds under neat. does it make sense?. again this is from experience.I think i posted earlier that our lawn is zoysia and it is also weed free because DH uses crabgrass control and weed and feed scott in spring. our lawn is posted somewhere .It is like stepping on carpet and better looking than the golf course. Belle

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

September 23, 2009
11:47 AM

Post #7095014

We don't use herbicides so we have to use suppression for our weeds. Salt hay isn't that expensive here, especially if we buy spoiled bales, and it doesn't have weed seeds, so that works for us.

We mix chicken manure from our henhouse into our compost and that helps keep it working, but I'm not sure if even that's enough to kill weed seeds. Sometimes our son brings down grass clippings from his yard and that definitely helps.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

September 23, 2009
4:48 PM

Post #7095993

WJ - [quote]One obvious source of weeds, though, was a friend's horse manure; it seemed to bring a lot of new types of plants into the garden. They referred to it as compost but obviously it hadn't cooked enough.[\quote]

Yes, I think your weed source was the horse manure. I've never used hay as I've heard that it can be "weedy." My neighbor gave me some straw last year left over from their Christmas display, and it didn' have weeds.

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

September 23, 2009
4:58 PM

Post #7096037

Honeybee, that was my quote, not WJ's, but I'm sure it didn't help my weed situation. I don't use regular hay either, and even straw seems to have weed seeds around here. Salt hay from the marshes doesn't, though.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

September 24, 2009
5:41 PM

Post #7099836

greenhouse_gal - sorry about the misquote :(

So that's what "salt hay" is - I've often heard of it, but never knew where it came from. I always thought it was "real hay" that had been treated with salt, and wondered why someone would put "salty hay" on their garden (LOL)

As the saying goes: "One is never too old to learn something new."
gardengus
Flora, IN
(Zone 5a)

September 24, 2009
5:52 PM

Post #7099875

If you can find a source for goat or llama manure it should be weed free. They are ruminants and weed seeds do not seem to be able to survive the process.
And just FYI some hay is treated with salt, If you put up hay that is not fully dry some times farmers treat with salt ,helps in the drying process, keeps the bales from heating up and maybe burning down the barn.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

September 24, 2009
5:58 PM

Post #7099887

gardengus -

Quoting:And just FYI some hay is treated with salt, If you put up hay that is not fully dry some times farmers treat with salt ,helps in the drying process, keeps the bales from heating up and maybe burning down the barn.


Didn't know this, either :)

I grew up in England where haystacks were common. It was not unusual for them to spontaneous combust if they were put up too wet.

pollengarden

pollengarden
Pueblo, CO
(Zone 5b)

December 10, 2009
5:02 PM

Post #7355522

I have two compost piles - one for stuff that may have weeds or seeds I don't want to sprout, and one that is for stuff that is okay to use as mulch even if it hasn't completely broken down. Back when I had chickens, the fresh compost pile was in the chicken pen - I let them pick through it before it moved on to the next stage. I assumed they were removing seeds and bugs while adding manure.

I tried corn gluten meal this year, it didn't work well. It is a weak pre-emergent. That means it won't work on perennial weeds at all, but it might work against your annual veggies that are direct sown. For annual weeds, I decided I timed it wrong - it was too dry for weeds to sprout, so the gluten meal lay there in the sun and broke down and got eaten by critters. For 2010 I am going to try multiple applications and water it in well afterwards to create good seed sprouting (and killing) conditions.

I have the best luck getting rid of weeds by "mechanical/physical" methods - pulling, cutting, and where possible smothering. Some times you can get by with something that is light-proof (mulch), for tougher weeds sprout-proof and light-proof (fabric or paper under mulch). I haven't tried solarizing, I may experiment with it this year, the sun at our altitude is certainly bright enough to fry things.
sublimaze1
Frisco, TX
(Zone 7b)

January 1, 2010
11:28 PM

Post #7417797

I may just fry them this year. Put down a layer of plastic on 75% of the garden and just do tomatoes and peppers. I haven't the time to weed (mechanically) my whole garden. It gets over 100 here several days in a row. Perhaps that would work?
WJ

pollengarden

pollengarden
Pueblo, CO
(Zone 5b)

January 4, 2010
3:49 PM

Post #7426593

Well, yes that would work. Your are supposed to water the area well before putting down the plastic and seal the edges with dirt to creat good germination conditions - so the seeds begin to sprout, then fry. When the temperatures start hitting 80-85, mulch well around your tomatos so they don't fry, too. The solarazation should only take about 3 weeks, not all summer. I'm not sure if you can over-solarize or not.
ImaTulsaDawg
Okmulgee, OK
(Zone 6b)

January 23, 2010
1:11 PM

Post #7487997

sublimaze1 wrote:I may just fry them this year. Put down a layer of plastic on 75% of the garden and just do tomatoes and peppers. I haven't the time to weed (mechanically) my whole garden. It gets over 100 here several days in a row. Perhaps that would work?
WJ

I'm north of you in Ok, and had the same issues as you in the past. We sell at farmers markets, so our garden plots are large, at least an acre in size, so trying to keep them weed free mechanically wasn't practical, and neither was mulching with straw or hay, because we do all the work ourselves, but it's mainly just me. A couple of years ago I saw a video of a guy in NY that grew everything in plastic mulch, set in wide rows, and between the rows seeded to winter rye and clover in the fall. The rye provided a windbreak and then he sickled it in early summer which helped keep the plastic mulch cooler when temps got really hot, and he had a carpet of clover between his rows that were pretty much weed free.
We've been doing it ever since, and it has been a life saver. We have a friend that comes out an lays the mulch with a machine, but the first year I just rolled out 50' lengths of plastic by hand, not bad for a small area, but labor intensive for large areas.

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