aqh88
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Location: Iowa
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save my garden....

Last year I decided to convert a section of the weedy field into a garden. I had a 100x50' chunk tilled and then tarped most of it. There was a strip that the tarps came off of and I tried to plant about a 10x15' section but I couldn't keep up with all the weeds that popped back up so it turned into a weed pit. This year I decided to dump all the chicken manure and shavings on the weed patch and cover in a tarp to compost and cook the weeds over this next year. Then plant the sections I tarped last year that were clear. I was going to bury a border of boards and bricks with some weed barrier cloth going several feet out to keep more weeds like the creeping charlie from sneaking back in. I spent hours raking alot of the dead weeds into a pile so the weed seed wouldn't get mixed into my tarped areas and was going to move the tarps later this week. I was not planning to till this garden ever again and instead make individual beds with permanent borders.

Well while I was gone yesterday my landlord and neighbor decided to be helpful and till my garden while doing hers. :roll: Now all that weed seed just got mixed into the rest. There's absolutely no way I can keep it all weeded by hand and I've got tons of flowers, perennials, vegetables, etc... all planned. Now what do I do? I can't mulch around individual flowers and I can't keep it weeded. Am I just out of luck and going to have to tarp it again this year and wait till next year? :(

aqh88
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Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2006 7:33 pm
Location: Iowa
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I have no idea what they used but that is not tilling... I wish I hadn't gone to look... The grooves are over a foot deep and it looks like someone plowed a corn field. All my black soil is buried under hard clay and they even tore up tree roots. I'm going to rake it smooth and start laying newspaper for lasagna gardening. What all can I use to build it back up in time to plant?

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Kisal
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Why not build several moderately-sized raised beds in the garden area? You can put a thick layer of mulch down on the paths between the beds. It will help keep the weeds to a more manageable level.

If you don't already know about it, you might want to Google square-foot gardening. :)

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smokensqueal
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Well good news if they did actually plow it you shouldn't have much problems with the weeds. Bad news like you said much of your top soil got flipped under. But don't worry to much it will work it's way right back up and just by working the hard clay. Square foot gardening sounds like a good idea for you or some sort of raised beds would be great. But if you don't want to spend the money on the raised bed then a lasagna bed would work well.

2cents
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Smokensqueal is right. Your explanation sounds like it was plowed.
If so, don't worry too much, if your in Iowa(best dirt on God's green earth) you should get good production out of what now seems like clay. Yes, it will be a little harder to work this first year or two, but they did you a big favor and brought a lot of good nutrients to the top.
And the clay will settle downward over the years and you will end up with the same color soil you were used to.
Grandpa, plowed his garden every year and dad was happy the years he could G-pa to bring the tractor over to do the same at our house.
You will be fine whatever you plan to plant and ....no weeds......
Happy planting.

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hendi_alex
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Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

If you don't have the energy to fight the weeds, buy a good quality (commercial grade) weedguard type of fabric and line the walk way between rows and line the perimeter. Cover the weedguard with pinestaw, hay, or other suitable mulch and it will look nice and will last for many seasons. By using the weed blocking fabric you will cut down perhaps 70% of potential weed problems. At the end of the season, roll the fabric up and store it until the next year.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

aqh88
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Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2006 7:33 pm
Location: Iowa
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My neighbor tills every year and has the absolute worst garden soil I've ever seen. All hard packed and no nutrients. She tills because it gets rock solid if she doesn't and it seems to only make it harder again. We were sharing a garden plot and I couldn't get much to grow there. Some hardy tomatos well composted with horse manure and some watermelons after digging large pits for them and filling it with straight compost and a little sand. There is good top soil but it's thin and hardly anyone around here plows a field anymore. All you get is clay if you do. It will take months to settle. I was going to just build up what was there with compost but I know from trying to mix things into my neighbors garden that once all that clay gets up there it's a losing battle. You can dump bag after bag and it's not enough. It takes entire truckloads. So now I'm going to have make soil from scratch like I did for my herb garden in the backyard. They tore up the backyard to put in a new septic tank and it's all clay to the point grass won't even grow.

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