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nes
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Controling Weeds

There is a half acre meadow beside our home I have access to plant on (actually the owner really WANTS me to put something there so he doesn't have to mow it).

My first attempt at veggie gardening there was a COMPLETE disaster (I got 1 cuke, 3 beans & 1 carrot...) because of the amount of weeds. It's been left wild for a number of years now.

This year were are planning on putting pumpkins in there because they are so quick growing & with big leaves they are going to over-shadow at least SOME of the weeds & hopefully have a good chance (definitely going to start them indoors NOW so they are big).

I also had planned to put my broom corn in there, now I'm thinking I'd like to move the sweet corn out of the garden & maybe find somewhere else to put the broom corn - because, from my understanding, it's not good to keep them close together?

What else can I put in to this field what will almost be invasive? I'd much rather have something like mint, catnip & parsley (which I'm already planning on using in there) instead of thistle!!! Which I spend a great deal of my time in the summer, digging back out of MY lawn!

How about a zucchini plant or two?
Would water-melon be strong enough?
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

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soil
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mulch mulch mulch, and mulch deep. plant pre strted plants into holes you poke in the mulch.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

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nes
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Over a half acre? That's not really feasible for us :? (I definitely don't want to spend any money on this). The owner will till it up for me with the tractor but I think I'd rather it if he didn't do that.

I could rent a mulcher & get trees from the owner, but that's a whole lot of wood.
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

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soil
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how are you going to plant it? with what? you don't necessarily have to mulch ALL of it. you need paths to walk on don't you? youll be surprised how much mulch material you can get for free or dirt cheap if you look and ask around.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

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nes
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soil wrote:how are you going to plant it? with what?
[img]https://www.smileyvault.com/albums/stock/smiley-mad0261.gif[/img]

That's what I was looking for suggestions on.

I'm not sure I want to even attempt to keep control of the weeds except with vegetation I prefer, it's a pretty big plot on top of my veggie garden. I mean I'm going to try to keep the big ones down (by hand) but I'm not going to hand-weed an entire 1/2 acre.
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

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jal_ut
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1/2 acre in a veggie garden is a very ambitious project. You will need something like a Troybilt Horse tiller to succeed. $2200 for one of those. I don't care what kind of veggies you plant there, if you don't address the weeds, you won't get much yield, if any.

Do you have any idea how much mulch it takes to mulch 1/2 acre deep enough to supperss weeds? 4 inches deep might do it. OK, one cubic yard of mulch will cover 80 square feet 4 inches deep. One half acre is 21,780 square feet. Divide that by 80 = 272 yards. That is 27 dumptrucks full.

Do yourself a favor and ask to use 1000 sq feet of that plot and let him mow the rest.

Good luck!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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applestar
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What does the farmer do with the clippings after he mows? Maybe they can be used for mulch? Whatever size are you decide to grow. But :shock: 1/2 acre is larger than my entire property.

I grew dent corn and sweet corn on opposite sides of the house 2 years ago, and sweet corn and popcorn last year. Prevailing winds usually blow on either side, not from one side to the other.

I like the idea of using a big space for pumpkins and corn. I wish I had some. I've seriously eyeing the front lawn... 8) I bought a sample packet of Atlantic Giant Pumpkin... I couldn't resist... but I've no idea if I have the courage to plant these seeds. :roll:

May I suggest a [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8140]Sunflower House[/url]?

Toil
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I've used a slow technique... you use sticks to lay the vegetation down, then mulch on top. You don't get so many new shoots that way.

lately I've been thinking about natives weeding their weeds, thanks to soil posting the following:

https://www.journeytoforever.org/farm_library/weeds/WeedsToC.html
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nes
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Apps - that is the cutest thing ever!!!!!! I LOVE sunflowers too, I may just have to do that this year ;).

I'm obviously not being clear in my question.

I have a separate vegetable garden for food for my family.

Can pumpkins, other squash, herbs (like mint & parsley) & corn out-compete weeds enough to thrive?

I can get the owner of the plot to till the whole thing with his tractor, but by the time in the spring he can get in there to do that (and find the time!) it's quite late in the season & I don't think it's actually helped at all in the last two years.

We have atlantic giants as well :D (for hubby) that's what I'm really interested in growing there.
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

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applestar
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Alright, alright! *I* knew what you meant but I got caught up in the other parts of the discussion. :roll: :lol:

IMHO, based on my limited experience, if you create, say, a 4' diameter "hill" for the pumpkin seeds to grow out of, they'll take care of the rest. The ones I'm thinking of wasn't even an Atlantic Giant, but two Pie Pumpkin (I'm thinking New England Pie) vines started in a 4'x 6' raised bed WITH 8 Sweet Corn and 6 Scarlet Runner beans, along with some nasturtiums and the vines simply MOVED OUT! Along the fence and over the lawn grass.

Great place to grow the Atlantic Giants! Consider getting Bushel Gourds and grow them there as well -- can you picture it? -- but make sure they don't cross pollinate first. (I remember *cukes* and pumpkins don't cross.) Your kids will LOVE it come harvest time. 8) Ooh! You could have BLOCKS (I'm actually picturing big multi-row circles) of corn with open center as a corn "houses" and multi-row circles of sunflwers as sunflower "houses." It would be AMAZING.

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nes
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Thanks for all the mulch help guys :lol: I'm really NOT that crazy. Although if I were really interested I'm sure I could get enough rotten hay to cover that field. If that's what I wanted to do :? (would be REALLY ugly & smelly!!)

Thanks Apps! :D That's exactly what I was thinking - if I could just give them a good head start over the weeds, I'd bet they'd choke most of them out :).

I've got sweet corn, birdhouse gourds, zucchini, watermelons, 3 kinds of pumpkins... LOTS of squash I was only going to put 1 -2 plants in my "real" garden, if I could move ALL of these over to the 1/2 acre meadow I could have some more room :lol:.

*Love* my scarelett runners I grew last year, they are going ALL over the fence this year & I'm really looking forward to the broom corn!

It's going to be a bit of work to keep the most vigorous weeds down, but with some help with the veggies I may actually be able to keep them down.

Corn maze? :lol:

Geeze, there is 1' of snow still on the ground around my house & I'm going BONKERS waiting for it to melt!!!!

[img]https://www.smileyvault.com/albums/CBSA/smileyvault-cute-big-smiley-animated-049.gif[/img]
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

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rootsy
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It's called a hoe as well as planting on black plastic... Especially if you are against any form of chemical herbicide and don't own or have access to a tractor and mounted cultivator... Even with mechanical cultivation you will spend some time with the hoe...

Otherwise plan to spend A LOT of time in an endless pursuit of weed control so that you can achieve minimal results from the plants and seed you do put in the ground...

1/2 an acre is an ambitious undertaking by oneself with nothing but two good hands and a few hand tools...

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applestar
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:-() another idea! :-()
How about BEAN TUNNELS connecting the houses?
You're supposed to take a hogwire fence (I believe that's what they're called) which come in a stiff sheet and curve it into a tunnel -- low or high -- then grow beans all over them. Also works with cukes.

Make the houses into different geometric shapes, connected with bean tunnels -- oh boy! Can I bring my kids to play? :()

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nes
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I have the sneaking feeling I'm going to find Apps playing in the field beside my house very soon....

Just sitting alone, in a sunflower house with a flashlight in the middle of the night...

:lol:

That's a really cute idea too! BUT I do have a newborn & a toddler, maybe in a couple years when they can help a little more :D. I'm totally going to end up being one of those crazy people who have entire towns built in their backyards... between my beaver-husband (NEVER stops building things!!!) and me just being generally insane, I'm sure that will happen on day! :D

For now I was thinking I might also do a Scarlett-runner tee-pee; I've just got to find the poles! :).

Definitely doing the sun-flower house though! I have a MILLION seeds I collected last year from my favourite flowers :).
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

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cherlynn
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Oh My, 1/2 acre of garden wonderland...may we come over to play?!?!?! Now that would be wonderful...a community planted playground :-() nutz: :clap: :D :flower: :clap: nutz: If we only lived closer!!!

Vanessa, I honestly don't know what to suggest you plant...but certainly would love to join in the fun! Pumpkins sound like a wonderful idea...nasturtium always spread beautifully, too...and they are a yummy peppery/sweet treat! Following in Applestar's footsteps is certain to be an adventure!

We're running out of room here, too. Nowhere near a 1/2 acre to plant! The sunny spots in the backyard are nearly all filled! Unfortunately our front yard doesn't get enough sun. Any ideas for 3-4 hours of morning sun? My hubby would love less grass(oops, I mean weeds) to mow!!!




cherlynn

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Alan in Vermont
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Based on my experience with working 1 1/2 acres you are going to need some sort of mechanical assistance with 1/2 acre of old sod.

IMO tilling, with a rotary tiller as opposed to plowing, is about the worst way to approach it. By the nature of the beast a tiller can only dig about 1/4 as deep as the diameter of the tine rotor. They will only deal with fluffed soil that is 1/2 the diameter of the rotor. For example, a tiller with a diameter of 16" will leave a tilled bed that may be 8" deep behind it but only cuts 4" into the virgin soil ahead of it. That tilled bed will contain a small boatload of broken up roots, many of which will start to regrow as soon as they see sunlight. You end up with a negative effect on the weed/grass population, just what you don't want.

I have had far better luck plowing, to turn the sod under, followed by disc harrowing to break up and smooth the newly exposed soil. It's not going to keep all the trash growth away but it will get you a couple weeks head start. If you can stand losing a year you can plant the area in buckwheat. Put it down heavy then let it grow and flower. As soon as it starts to set seed disc it into the soil and plant again. It will grow fast enough and thick enough to shade out the bulk of the trash growth. The second year you can plant crops and not be quite so overwhelmed with weeds.

Not sure if you have anything in the budget for equipment. If you do I would recommend watching local ads or ebay for a garden tractor. One of the good brands made by a farm equipment company and 20+ years old. IMO Sears or any local retail models are NOT worth buying, even if only to mow your lawn or pull a cart. John Deere, Cub Cadet and Allis Chalmers/Simplicity are the cream of the crop. I've got three Deeres that I use, the newest is 19 years old, the oldest is 39. Attachments are available to plow, disc, plant and cultivate with them. If you buy a good one in that age range and take care of it there is a good chance that you can sell it, if you decide not to use it anymore, for as much as you paid for it.

If you plant on the right row widths a small tiller works OK for cultivating. I used a 20" one in 30" corn rows until my hips and knees would not hold up to the walking. That one was a Sears and I would not recommend them at all. They only walk behind tiller I would buy is a Troy-Bilt, they don't seem to have figured out how to make theirs on the cheap yet.

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