beanz
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How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

This year is my first garden ever!! I wanted to do the garden right by not spraying it with chemicals.

Well the problem is, is that the weeds and grass have taken over we have pulled we have picked we have plucked the weeds until our hands can't take it anymore. The weeds are thistles, ragweed, milkweed and cockaburrs and don't forget the grass. The spot has never been a garden before and I think that has a lot to do with it but I'm not sure.

The farmers that I have asked said to spray it with round up or some other chemicals that will KILL EVERYTHING. Can anyone tell me what to do?

cynthia_h
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There's an almost-duplicate thread here in the Organic Gardening Forum right now discussing "alternatives to Roundup." It's a very thorough discussion of anti-weed tactics, strategies, and campaigns:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14039

Hope this helps.

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johnrf
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weeds

Just keep pulling the weeds, your hands will heal and get stronger. There is really no organic substitute for good old fashioned weeding. Weeds show that the soil is fertile and healthy. Think of the weeds as treasure for your compost. As your soil becomes looser you will get more of the roots and slow down the weed growth. Deep roots bring up essential minerals for your plants. You can mulch with weeds.
For the last few years I have made small piles of weeks around the garden. Saves time not having to make too many trips to the compost. And next year those piles will have turned into great spots to plant cukes or squash. Mine end up mostly worm casings and whatever I plant there really thrives. Also many crops can co-habitate with weeds.
I don't spray anything in my garden that I would not eat.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

That will kill the weeds and anything else that might be growing there and all the life of the soil. It will take the soil a long time to recover.
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Ksk
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Re: How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

Three/four inches of straw will help. Not hay because it is very "seedy."
I use organic straw and then turn under in the fall. It has been great.
Also some people use newspaper, cardboard and old rugs to suppress weeds between rows. Rugs might get moldy but brown cardboard and newspaper make sense as they break down. Some stores have brown bags labeled "compostable. Also most newspaper ink these days is plant based but you would have to call and find out. It depends if you are a strict organic gardener or simply using organic methods once plants are planted.
Pulling weeds works too if you have the time.
Salt and other weed killers are indiscriminate so not a recommended way to go. Fertizers (blue crystal style for example) that are not organic have a lot of salts so proceed with caution on adding salts in addition to those. I use organic mushroom compost and plant refuse from my organic plants.
Also, be cautious when composting weeds. Vegetation maybe, but beware of those hearty seeds that are resilient as all get out.

bri80
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Re: How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

I spent years trying various weed suppression strategies, many of which only made things worse.

Then I gave up and researched good old-fashioned hoeing. It's all I do now, and it's extremely effective and easy once you get the hang of it.

You need sharp tools that you know how to use. Don't buy a traditional hoe off the shelf and go whacking around and expect to be effective. Sharpen your weeders and research how to use them, it's a skill that takes learning and practice.

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jal_ut
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Re: How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

Till the plot! wait till you see green coming, till again. Now plant your crops. Yes, you will still get weeds, the seed comes on the wind, in the water in my case since we have canal water. Plant in rows spaced 30 inches and use a wheel hoe between the rows. and don't forget Hoe, hoe, hoe. Yep, if you are going to garden, weeding is a big part of the game.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

PaulF
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Re: How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

A good mulching program and a hoe work best.
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Re: How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

Healthy safe food is always worth the time and effort required. We have always used a variety of methods that include killing the weeds by depriving them of sunlight using what ever safe mulches we could find.

We also do hand cultivation and then pull weeds by hand if needed. We have been using raised beds for a couple years and i use saw dust and tree bark to mulch around the outside of the beds and then grass clippings and compost around the plants themselves.

When we have picked the last vegetables for the year, my wife will put her laying hens in the garden area to scratch and fertilize for next year !

Take care

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vegetablesteve
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Re: How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

I use newspaper and cardboard.
I do weed the patches but as soon as I'm done, I put on newspaper or cardboard (also between the vegetables) and cover it with compost or coffee grounds so the paper doesn't blow away. After that, I just cover with woodchips and I'm weed free for a good while. Even the weeds that come up are really easy to pull.

tenaciousg
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Re: How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

Keeping your garden weed free- organically!!!

- Use pine needles between the garden beds (free!). They are acidic and will prevent growth of weeds for that season. They decompose over winter and will provide mulch between the beds for the spring (ie things will grow again). However, if you keep doing this year after year, the weed seeds that are able to germinate will have already grown and then died.

- Use straw or mulch hay (not so free). The mulch will block the sunlight and block the weeds. Often you can ask a straw/hay farmer if they have any spoiled bails and get a cheap rate for mulch. It's going to mold anyway when you put it on the ground!

- Use your extra leaves as mulch between the garden beds (free!). Use shredded leaves as a soil cover and mulch in your garden beds. The leaves attract the worms, which leave "black gold" in the growing area of your garden beds. Plus the mulch keeps the soil moist, retaining water for your vegetable plant roots. Soil is "alive". It needs moisture to stay alive too!

- Manual intervention takes energy and enthusiasm, but if done right it's easy (free!). I've been doing this for years. Every time I go out to the garden, I pull a "bad" weed out. Sometimes I'll pull several and sometimes I'll pull a single weed. Every time you do this you ensure there won't be any seeds for this kind of weed next year. After a few years, the weeds slowly go away. I also will dig up troublesome weeds every now and then. This is a chemical free to clear your garden or even your lawn over several years. While it does take time, it is very effective and costs little.

Lots of luck
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Gary350
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Re: How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

Every spring there are green plants all over my garden so I till to kill the plants. Till again to do damage to plants that have not yet died. I often till every day and sometimes every other day. Tiller damages existing plants and they die. Tiller stirs up seeds that soon germinate and grow till again to kill the plans and stir up more seeds that will grow too. You want all the seeds in the soil to germinate so there are none left to germinate when you plant your garden. If your starting a new garden you may need to till every day for 2 weeks but a year later you may only need to till 4 times to kill all the unwanted plants that germinate from seeds in the soil.

Plant your garden rows about 10" wider than your tiller. Do not till weeds until your garden plants are about 8 to 12 inches tall depending on the plants and had big weeds are getting. Do a quick till only 1" deep in the soil is all it takes to damage weeds and grass so they die. Once I start having 85 degree weather it is hot and dry enough that few seeds will germinate no weeds will grow from July to Sept as long as you never water your garden. I do dry gardening I never water all that does is make grass and weeds grow.

Run your tiller between the rows very fast till only 1" deep the loose dry soil on the surface is better than mulch and it is free. If you buy mulch it costs $$$$$ plus you spend your time buying it, hauling it home, spreading it on your garden. It only takes a few minutes to run your tiller through the garden quick.

I will never spray Round up on my garden. I will never put any kind of toxic poison on my garden.

tallslenderguy
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Re: How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

I've been growing organically for a long time (>25years). I've owned 4 farms, grown for farmers markets. My personal gardens have been in raised beds, I'm fond of cedar boxes with drip irrigation. My typical gardens have had grass pathways in between the boxes and i'd use my grass clippings (cut before the grass seeds) to mulch my boxes. Would keep the soil moist and cool in the summer, decompose and feed the soil.

Then i moved from the east to the west (the Willamette Valley in Oregon). I couldn't believe my good fortune, no pests or disease (compared to back east). I live in an urban area now and my whole backyard is under cultivation. 9 4x10 foot cedar boxes. Last year (2016, new beds) I was picking a quart of strawberries every other day right up till November. This year I discovered a weed i have never had to contend with before: quack grass. It loves my beds and took over my strawberry bed this year.

Controlling weeds starts with identifying the type of weed first. Weeds from seeds are one thing, weeds from tuberous roots another. For instance, tilling quack grass, which grows from tuberous roots, just multiplies the number of roots the plants can grow from... kind of like dividing bulbs or tubers. I have meticulously dug every root out of a bed, but have now discovered that the roots are creeping under my boxes from the lawn and into the beds. Reminds me of how the neighborhoods cats seem to think you've built them cat boxes, the quack grass sees those beds and says: "wow, he built a house for me and all my friends!!" So now I figure I'm going to have to get rid of the grass between the beds and have been reading up on that: weed fabric, carpet, cardboard, mulch, gravel.

My soil is so rich and full of earthworms, everything grows with relish. I have normal weeds too, but they are easy to control using a hoe or just pulling at the right time. But quack grass is a whole different beast. You cannot get it rid of it unless you get the whole root. The root can grow a couple of feet and breaks easily. It weaves an underground web that if you pull it out with seedlings will disrupt them. Reminds me of the bible story of "the wheat and the tares"

Would love to hear of solutions to this guy. I do realize now that i cannot get rid of it from my beds until i get rid of it from my pathways... or pour concrete lol.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

here's a whole article on organic control of quackgrass:

https://www.cog.ca/documents/ControlQuackgrassSU06.pdf
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tallslenderguy
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Re: How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

rainbowgardener wrote:here's a whole article on organic control of quackgrass:

https://www.cog.ca/documents/ControlQuackgrassSU06.pdf


Thank you rainbowgardener, just finished reading the article, very informative. I've been trying to avoid tilling my beds because it kills worms, but after reading the article, looks like repeated tilling over several weeks will deplete the rhizomes nutritional content and eventually kill it. It also seems from what the article states that i will need to do something about my pathways because the quack grass is making it's way under my boxes from my pathways even after i eliminate the rhizomes in the beds. hiho :-)

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rainbowgardener
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Re: How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

Yes. I just have regular grass. When I built my raised beds, I put cardboard down in the bottom of the boxes. It smothered the grass for awhile. But that was two years ago and the cardboard is long gone. I have grass coming up in all the beds, travelling in from the lawn outside them.

For your purposes, you could probably get carpet remnant strips free or very cheap. Lay them down carpet side down in your paths. It makes a nice, non--muddy walking surface and it will kill the grass in the pathways. Once it is gone from the pathways, it will be a lot harder to come up in the raised beds.
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productivegardener
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Re: How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

Rekha-Mangnani wrote:Mix a lot of salt in water. Water the weeds with them. Make sure you don't spray the water or pour it in large area, that might spoil the other plants as well. Soon, the weeds will die from excess salt and the dilute the salt in soil by pouring simple water for a few days.
Please, please, don't do this to your soil. This is a great idea for fence row weeds, but keep those excess salts out of the garden. Your soil and your plants will thank you.

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Gary350
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Re: How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

Cover your whole garden with something that will block sunlight, cardboard is free it needs to be covered with, boards, bricks, rocks, tires, anything heavy to keep it from blowing away. Keep soil covered all winter several months of no sunlight everything will be dead by spring. I did this once 40 years ago on my garden when I removed the cardboard there were no plants just soil. I tried this once with blue plastic tarps it did not work I guess enough sunlight gets through for grass to grow.

productivegardener
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Re: How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

Another interesting thing to try is solarization. Cover a large area with a piece of heavy (3 - 6 mil) clear plastic. In my experience, tarps and black plastic do not work nearly as well as clear plastic. Under an opaque covering the grass and weeds seem to hibernate for a while and don't immediately die. Under a clear cover, they try to grow but are scorched but the sun. A hot August sun (in USDA Zone 6) will kill most grass under clear plastic in two weeks. Quack grass may take longer to succumb and lower temperatures and cloudy days also slow down the process.

imafan26
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Re: How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

Some of you might be able to rent a goat. They actually like weeds and lettuce but don't really like grass. Solarization does not work well in cooler months, it works better the hottest time of the year July-August. It will not kill nutsedge, but it is ok for annual weeds, so is covering the weeds to block light with cardboard or carpet.

I have put cardboard and weed block in some parts of my yard that I have managed to clear of weeds. I still get a few weeds coming through the seams and where the fabric is worn and along the edges, but it is easier to pull out a few and put in a patch than to keep wading through the weeds after it rains. The weeds so far are not coming through the sections where I put thick cardboard under the weed cloth. I did have a hard time tacking the weed cloth down because it was hard to get the staples through the cardboard. Where I have older weed block, the weeds actually started growing on the surface, the smaller weeds come up easier, but some of the weeds have already gone through the weed block so I have to clear it and put on another layer.
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DarrenP
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Re: How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

I know this is an old thread, but this is my take on weeds.
We have raised beds of various kinds, and it seems the taller the bed, the less chance of weeds. Also, mulch is the best suppressant. If you decide to use cardboard under the mulch, maybe lay out some aged manure first. This gives the soil some nutrients while the cardboard breaks down.
Plastic, tarps, and weed mats are all bad for the soil, as they don't let water or nutrients through.
If you can come up with the best way to minimise the weeds, then pull up any that do come up. Composting is one option, as long as they haven't gone to seed as mentioned above. I feed them to our chickens; you just need to be aware of what ones are bad for them. Even our rabbits eat some weeds.

imafan26
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Re: How to Eradicate Weeds from Garden Organically?

It really depends on your weeds. Nutsedge can poke through newspaper and most woven and plastic weed block. It has a harder time getting through non woven landscape fabric but it can survive for years. I have tried mulch, but the slugs and snails like to hide in that too. I don't have a lot of leaves to work with for mulch. There are very few deciduous trees in my yard. The ones that do are not clean as they have rust and other fungal issues so they don't make good mulch. Cardboard does help and so does cutting up the plastic bags the potting soil comes in and using that around the plants in pots as a weed barrier and to hold moisture in the pot as well.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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