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Thread: Need help with weeds

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    5,053

    Default Need help with weeds

    We've torn out our raised beds because the weeds were just too much to manage. Part of the problem was that we had grass between the beds, and it found the well watered raised beds and got thru the multi layered weed control fabric, and just went to town on our beds. Here's what I need to figure out.... this is a large area, and there's no way I can muscle the grass that is still up there between where the beds were out of the ground for our new larger, and better protected beds. My plan is to cover the entire garden area with high grade weed barrier, build the new beds out of stone, and bark mulch between them to control grasses.

    Problem 1: the grass is dormant, so even powerful weed killers aren't gonna work this time of year, (I'm not a fan of lots of chemicals either) and waiting till spring to kill it means we lose gardening season.

    Problem 2: commercially available weed barriers kinda suck. I've tried the big box stuff, and it just doesn't hold up to weeds. Anybody got advice for a good geotextile that's gonna actually work long term?

    I'm open to ideas, don't want to waste what time I have left spinning my wheels.
    Common sense is so uncommon nowadays it ought to be reclassified as a super power

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Sweet Tennessee
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    Default

    I tilled my entire garden area, laid down hudreds of pounds of newspaper, then covered with 2 tons of mulch only to have grass to still get through. You definitely need to till the area, then lay something more permanent like cloth that is used for new driveways, or a soil cloth. https://www.lowes.com/pd/NDS-100-ft-...rator/50143072 https://www.lowes.com/pd/Hanes-Geo-C...extile/3316354

    Both of these will last a long time and prevent weeds, after a while the mulch will compost and provide an excellent medium for weeds to thrive in. Good Luck, keeping weeds out is time consuming and laborful.
    Don't bring skittles to a gun fight.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    4,471

    Default

    You got that right flock. I've tried everything over the years , and grass and weeds will grow if your plants grow, weeds and grass are much hardier. Gardens require a lot of work , no matter how much mulch, spray, newspaper , cloth, or plastic you use, weeds will grow. I spend many more hours pulling weeds and grass than I do tilling, mulching, planting, and watering.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    I'm aware of how much work it is, we had a great garden for 4 years with the beds we had, and were relatively weed free, but as the cloth started to go, and the grass around the beds found the fertile soil in the beds, we just couldn't keep up. Today and yesterday I moved about a yard each to a pile so I can just use the old soil on the yard and start over. I may have a guy from work come over here with a bobcat and scrape the whole area level so I can just double up cloth over the whole area and start building new beds.

    I can really grow Bermuda grass, as a matter of fact, the grass in my beds is the best on the block. Lol
    Common sense is so uncommon nowadays it ought to be reclassified as a super power

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Sweet Tennessee
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    I know that feeling AK, stinking, stupid, show off grass. LOL
    Don't bring skittles to a gun fight.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    NJ (anti gun I know, I live it)
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    Default

    Ak I had the same issue. The conclusion I came to was the seeds in the air is what caused all the weed issues. I had about 9inch of soil and I dug it up to check the barrier. It was actually in pretty good shape after 4 years. The other was the weed roots weren't more then 6 inches deep.

    To reduce weeds greatly I would think the soil in the beds would need to be screened every year. That isn't an option for me as it would be a huge undertaking and a pita.

    Weeds weren't terrible because I groomed the beds everyday. Gardening is very relaxing for me and I enjoy it a great deal. Last year was the first time in 6 years I didn't have a garden. We sold our house and rented. Looking for a house this summer to be closer to work and WV. I will be able to carry again
    "Improvise, adapt & overcome"
    Clint Eastwood - Heartbreak Ridge

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    East TN Smokey Mountains
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    4,960

    Default

    YMMV, but here's what I do.

    Like others have said, till up the area you intend for your raised beds.
    In your case probably pull down the sides and till the entire area.

    Then cardboard the bottom of the raised bed and add back your soil.
    Shovel out the paths into the beds to get the paths down to the base of your boards on the beds.

    My raised beds are 30" wide and my paths are exactly 22" wide.
    This lets me take 24" landscape fabric (weed blocker) and staple it to both sides of the path.
    Then i put gravel on the paths so there is no dirt there. I use rock dust but 1/4 would work also.
    Put the gravel a couple inches thick.
    I have tried all kinds of path material over the decades, but this works best because there isn't a lot for weeds to start vs mulch or grass.

    Then get yourselves one of these flame weeders:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00282LP34/ref=dp_prsubs_2
    Very very easy to keep your paths weed free with the combination of the weed block, the gravel and the flame weeder.

    Then on the beds never leave bare soil at any time.
    Crops with mulch of leaves / compost during the growing season.
    In the fall I cover mine with leaves about 4" thick, then on top of that 4-8" of grass clippings and leave that over the winter
    Another alternative is a cover crop / green manure - I like to plant buckwheat about 30 days before the expected first frost which will kill it, but in the meantime it does a pretty good job of crowding out weeds - but you got to plant it thick.

  8. #8

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    Green wood sawdust kills weed seeds before they have a chance to survive germinate. I lay about 2 to 3" down every year just after a hard frost. If I see any signs that some weed seeds manage to germinate, I hit it with another layer of greenwood sawdust.
    What I do is, I pull the good fertile soil back, seed the mounds with red clover, spread out the greenwood sawdust where the fertile soil was, let it stay exposed all winter until very early Spring. Then I Til the mounds to incorporate the ground cover and add my fresh compost to the mounds of fertile soil. I don't pull the soil back into the rows until I'm ready to plant and to make sure no weed seeds pop up.

    I've tried cardboard, newspaper, weed barrier cloth etc... None of that works for me. Greenwood sawdust chokes oxygen out of the ground for a year or two before it rots and composts so I do this every year to stay on top of the weeds. I have no weed problems throughout the growing season. At the end of the growing season, I do it all again... Every year.
    Making good people helpless, doesn't make bad people harmless!

  9. #9

    Default

    Explo, I've tried the rocks. They have a tendency to work their way up to tilling depth. I've mangled a few tiller blades using rock and rock dust. It does make a good base if you don't use a router tiller but my gardens are too big not to. I learned about greenwood sawdust from my granddad years ago.

    Cabinet shops and lumber yards and sawmills will give you all you can haul away for free. Not shavings.. You need sawdust. The fine stuff. It settles like concrete. It needs to be put in deep because it does soak up moisture.
    Making good people helpless, doesn't make bad people harmless!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    In a flood plaine in hurricane country
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    3,182

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    Goats? They'll eat all of the weeds, or so I am told.
    Approach with a calm resolve, attack with reckless indifference. Gladius Republicae!
    "...use Gold like it's gunpowder..."

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