User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 28047
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Weeding problem

I wondered about mulching large fields too, and this seems to be the answer. Again, on large scale, big tools make the job easier and faster:



...I can't do things this way because it's the heavy weight and power that lets them crimp and cut through the covercrop. Mine is on a no-power tool small scale made even easier to manually manage, though time consuming, by breaking up into small postage stamp beds. I'm looking for how people who are using power push/self driving tillers and ride on lawnmower size tools are handling it.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

User avatar
freedhardwoods
Senior Member
Posts: 253
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 1:32 am
Location: Southwest IN

Re: Weeding problem

rainbowgardener wrote:And then you have all that bare dirt and on a slope.... Do you ever mulch it? I'm sure that mulching is a lot harder when you have fields, but people do that. It seems like you would be losing a lot of precious topsoil this way, as well as losing a lot more moisture, and letting nutrients be taken out of the soil without being replenished.
If you are replying to my post, my ground isn't perfectly level, but I wouldn't call it a slope. We had 4" of rain after I tilled it and it didn't wash anywhere.

The only thing I mulch is my raspberries and strawberries because I can't till them.

I gain topsoil, not lose it because I add sawdust to the dirt and till it in. It really helps build up my clay soil.

Here is why I don't mulch (no-till) and why my ground doesn't wash away.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 28047
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Weeding problem

Interesting! So you are using this "vertical tillage" equipment?

...it does look like another POWER solution though (not for small backyard garden) but interesting to keep an eye on. It struck me that they kept saying/comparing to " 'conventional' horizontal disked field" -- that would be what we normally view as "tilled"?
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Jason L
Cool Member
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:13 pm
Location: South East Michigan

Re: Weeding problem

My soil is so easy to work with right now I have been wondering about tilling with power tiller next year. The power tiller loosens it up so much that you sink into it while planting. Due to the tiller not working this year we had turned the soil with shovels and garden raked it after. We think the problem with the tiller is the gasket on the carburetor. But the tiller is like 20ish years old. I figure we can find some gasket for it. I never looked into if there are non-powered tilling stuff.

User avatar
freedhardwoods
Senior Member
Posts: 253
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 1:32 am
Location: Southwest IN

Re: Weeding problem

I do use a subsoiler/ripper some years and Ground Hog Radishes that grow deep and break up hardened subsoil. In the video, the water absorption is the main reason I like vertical tillage as compared to just tilling. Tilling soil year after year without vertical tillage will create a hard layer just below the tilling depth.

I understand that mulching works on small gardens and large fields shown in the video you posted, but for me it's too labor intensive to do in a large garden. I (and jal_ut) are just showing an alternative to mulching.

User avatar
MichaelC
Senior Member
Posts: 232
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 3:32 am
Location: Scotts Valley, CA

Re: Weeding problem

applestar wrote:OK second time I paused to wonder what Big R is. Google didn't help and curiosity is driving me batty :lol:
Chain store in the midwest.

https://www.bigr.com/lawngarden.htm

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Weeding problem

Some of the grasses have tough long lived roots and it is hard to get rid of them. You can pull the green, but more will crop up tomorrow. To get it you have to keep the green off, or when no plants are on the plot, dig deep with a digging fork and actually remove the roots and toss them in the garbage can. You can get these grasses removed if you let the plot go fallow and till it every time you see green. Good luck!

Broad leaved weeds that come up from seed can be easily removed with a hoe when small. I like a broad bladed butcher knife for weeding close around plants. If weeds get large enough to get hold of them, pulling works. In any case we need to keep after them. They just seem to come and come again.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Jason L
Cool Member
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:13 pm
Location: South East Michigan

Re: Weeding problem

I have the weed problem mostly under control now. About half the garden is covered with corn husks. About half of the other half I pulled weeds and they have not come back in force like how they were when I posted this thread. I found a small hand garden tool, it's 3 prong like on one side and hoe like on the other side. It helped get the tougher weeds. I have already arranged with my parents to keep all their fall leaves for use as mulch for next year. And I'll be keeping all of our leaves as well. I have a blower vac and figure using the vac to grind them up and store them in lawn and garden paper bags over the winter will work.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Weeding problem

That will be terrific. By the time you have chopped your leaves and then stored them, by spring they will be partly broken down and will be a lovely fine textured mulch.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Weeding problem

Hoe, hoe, hoe.

Weeds are a fact of life. The seed comes on the wind, and in my case in my irrigation water. Also, some always seem to go to seed in the garden. The ones with the persistent perennial type roots are the worst problem. If you have this type you have to dig up the roots and toss them in the garbage can or put them where they will dry and die. If you pull them and toss them on the garden they will roll over and grow.

Yes, mulches are a help with weed suppression. The newsprint then mulch is quite effective. Have fun!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

lexusnexus
Green Thumb
Posts: 358
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:06 pm
Location: MD Suburbs of DC, 7a

Re: Weeding problem

Jason, just how big is your garden? Mulch is a really good idea. But, and there's always a but, mulch may actually have weed seed in it. Even in my 15'X25' garden I'm never caught up with the weeds. There is an acceptable level of weeds for me, but you have to decide what that is for you.
Dan - "Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends..." Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Karnevil #9

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Weeding problem

Hmmmm, how large is your garden? Do you have a lawn? Do you mow the grass? Do you take the newspaper?

If you answered yes to these three questions, just take the newspaper and put it on the ground around your plants (about 4 to 5 layers of paper) and cover it with grass clippings.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Weeding problem

Weeds are a fact of life. The seed comes in on the wind, in my case in my irrigation water, and not to mention those that go to seed right in the garden. Best thing I have found is to make your rows such that you can run a wheel hoe between rows, that gets most of the weeds. If you have a Tiller, you can run that between the rows for weeding if you lay it out so it will work. Now its hoe, hoe, hoe, and get down on your hands and knees and use a butcher knife or just pull them. Well, try as I might there is always weeds in my garden, but know what? I still get a harvest. Granted your crops will do better if you can keep the weeds from being too much competition.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Jason L
Cool Member
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:13 pm
Location: South East Michigan

Re: Weeding problem

My garden is about 8 to 10 feet by 24 feet. The part where I put corn husks down weeds were nearly done away with. They only appear to have come back in spots where there was bare ground around the plants or where the husks got moved from walking around and harvesting. Between the weeds and strange weather we have had around here I have had poor results with my garden except for 4 of my tomato plants and my green beans. But even those 4 tomato plants I'm not going to have the size harvest I expected to have. I think I actually will have lost money on it this year :(

Peter1142
Green Thumb
Posts: 313
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:23 pm
Location: SE NY ZONE 6B

Re: Weeding problem

The idea that excessive weeds are an indication of poor soil is nonsense. I have extremely rich soil that grows large and healthy plants with little fertilization, including heavy feeders like tomatoes and pumpkins, and the weeds could not be more vigorous. It is true that certain weeds tend to dominate in certain poor soils, but that does not equate to "weeds = poor soil".

Weeding is a fact of life, yes. It is a lot of work. Mulching -- before the weeds set significant roots -- will help a lot. But it won't completely prevent weeds, and some weeds like crabgrass will grow right in certain mulches. Also when weeding they need to be pulled out by the roots, otherwise most will come right back sometimes seemingly even more vigorous than before. There is no substitute for getting down on your knees.
Zone 6b SE NY
My blog Peter's Vegetable Garden

Taiji
Greener Thumb
Posts: 886
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:19 am
Location: back to cental az for now, elevation 5141, lat 34.57

Re: Weeding problem

I wonder if the vertical tillage in the video is similar to or the same as what they used to tout in the old Organic Gardening magazine of the 60's and 70's and called it chisel plowing? They always wanted farmers to start trying chisel plowing because it didn't compact the earth underneath like the traditional plow.

I would think on a smaller scale such as in the smaller home garden, double digging would yield the same result, say, using a long tined spading fork? Lotsa work though! And don't ever step on the beds!
I don't know if there is such a thing as an extra long tined spading fork or not.

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11437
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Weeding problem

No till is different from double digging. Double digging or any tillage will kill microorganisms by turning the soil and exposing the microbes to light and disturbing the microenvironment. I am thinking verticle plowing would be more like using a vertical lawnmower or aerating the soil with a garden fork. You want to add air and fluff but you want to do it with the minimal disturbance to the critters living in the soil. Although a few earthworms may still be harmed in the process.

I have a mini cultivator and I stopped using it years ago. Mainly because it required maintenance every 20 hours and it was a problem to start if the gas was old (before I learned about stabil). It pureed the top 4 to 6 inches of soil but since you have to walk behind those things, I ended up compacting the soil as I walked behind. Below the tiller's reach the soil was still hard. So, I switched to adding amendments with a shovel instead. I still compact the soil when I am walking on it, but it is worked a lot deeper.

I tried no till with my corn this year and added the amendments on top. But I think it works better if there isn't a lot of establihed weeds around. My soil dried out faster than usual (it didn't help that we did not get that much rain except from the passsing storms. Many of the corn seeds failed to germinate and what survived was drought stressed so they were very short and I did not have enough corn to get the ears to fill well. I actually saw fewer creatures in the soil because it was so dry. It was my first time and maybe I didn't do it properly. I might have to do more research on that and try it again.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Taiji
Greener Thumb
Posts: 886
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:19 am
Location: back to cental az for now, elevation 5141, lat 34.57

Re: Weeding problem

Yes, I see what you're saying about organism destruction. I'm trying to get to the point where I can just walk along the bed twisting my spading fork back and forth as bed preparation. Some of my beds are getting close to that stage as they get built up with amendments. For now, I'm still turning the top 6 or 8 inches especially when turning under a green manure crop, then, I force the fork down as far as possible and loosen up what's down there!

Again, I don't have too much trouble with weeds out here, I guess it's the arid environment. But I still mulch a lot to hold moisture and feed the soil. Was curious if you mulched your corn to help with holding the moisture, and if you were able to water your corn when it needed it?

Without supplemental watering often around here I couldn't grow a thing!

Jason L
Cool Member
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:13 pm
Location: South East Michigan

Re: Weeding problem

I put down plastic garden edging around the outer edge of the garden. But on the side where the lawn is and the garden gate the grass is managing to go over the top of it and continue growing into the garden. Any tips for preventing that from happening?

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Weeding problem

What is a weed? I say it is a plant out of place. IOW a plant growing where I don't want it.

Weeds come from seeds, or from the roots of perennial plants in the soil. In the case of roots, you must dig them up and remove them or get them on top of the ground where the sun will dry them and kill them. This is certainly the case with many of the perennial grasses. It may take two or more diggins to get them.

About seeds, they come from plants that have matured on your lot, or they come on the wind, or in my case they also come in my irrigation water.

Lets face it, there will always be weeds. If you are going to garden, part of the project is to eliminate the weeds. Its Hoe, Hoe, Hoe. You can hoe them out, pull them, or run the tiller between rows. We will never get them all but we must reduce their numbers such that our favored plants can make it. Have fun!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11437
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Weeding problem

I did not mulch the corn because I had planted the corn around the previous beets and lettuce. It may have helped, but I need to find a better mulch. The commercial mulch dries out and is hard to wet and I have to water the mulch before I water the soil. The tree trimmings have more weeds in them. I still needed to water more, it just didn't rain as much as usual.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

User avatar
ElizabethB
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2109
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:53 am
Location: Lafayette, LA

Re: Weeding problem

Too many pages to read through each post. I hope I am not repeating information. I am a BIG fan of pine straw/needle mulch. Cut or pull as many of the weeds as possible then apply a 12" loosely packed layer of pine straw. It will compact to about a 3" layer of densely twined needles. The best for weed prevention and water retention. Exactly what you want from mulch. :-()

Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

Jason L
Cool Member
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:13 pm
Location: South East Michigan

Re: Weeding problem

ElizabethB wrote:Too many pages to read through each post. I hope I am not repeating information. I am a BIG fan of pine straw/needle mulch. Cut or pull as many of the weeds as possible then apply a 12" loosely packed layer of pine straw. It will compact to about a 3" layer of densely twined needles. The best for weed prevention and water retention. Exactly what you want from mulch. :-()

Good luck
For myself the original post was resolved to a plan for next year. And a mostly too late for this year result. I guess I should have considered a potential problem before hand rather than looking for advice after the fact. I was shocked at how quickly I went from no weeds to things out of control. It was literally like over night. I had to wait for the days of rain to end and by then it was an uphill battle never won. I managed to get a third of the garden under control but the weeds one. I lost 9 of my 12 pepper plants and the harvest from the remaining was far from even breaking even vs cost to buy from market. I lost 5 of my 8 tomato plants. And only one of the remaining 3 thrived, the rest are a third of the size. I only got 5 or less pounds of cherry and roma tomatoes combined. I have a very small amount left yet to ripen left on them. With time running out for them I'm doubtful of any significant more from them. Green beans are where things turn around. I have gotten tons of those. 15 pints canned so far. About 5 pints worth eaten fresh. And I'm still getting plenty more. I expect at this rate by the end of the season about 15 more pints worth. I revived the thread with an extra question concerning a problem I noticed the day I revived the thread. The lawn has somehow learned of the garden edging as is now consistently growing itself over the top of it and taking up root on the garden side. I keep tearing it up but then it just grows over it again. This year has been very frustrating for me. It almost made me want to give up garden if it weren't for the green beans results and the hope I have for next year with the advice from the thread.

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11437
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Weeding problem

I have that problem too. I have to edge when I mow. Grass always grows over. I had fewer problem with the emerald, than with the St Augustine. St Augustine completely took over a bed so I had to just move the ground cover. I edge and leave a couple of inches bare space between the edge and the border. It buys me a little more time if the grass is not all the way up to the edging. I put plain red bricks flat in the space. so if the grass does invade it, it is just on top. When I used a lawn mower it was necessary to have the edge because of the wheel. Now with the weed whacker, it is mainly so I don't whack as many pots.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Jason L
Cool Member
Posts: 64
Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2014 5:13 pm
Location: South East Michigan

Re: Weeding problem

imafan26 wrote:I have that problem too. I have to edge when I mow. Grass always grows over. I had fewer problem with the emerald, than with the St Augustine. St Augustine completely took over a bed so I had to just move the ground cover. I edge and leave a couple of inches bare space between the edge and the border. It buys me a little more time if the grass is not all the way up to the edging. I put plain red bricks flat in the space. so if the grass does invade it, it is just on top. When I used a lawn mower it was necessary to have the edge because of the wheel. Now with the weed whacker, it is mainly so I don't whack as many pots.
I had never thought about doing that. I'm sure I can get some patio blocks or something to be a buffer rather than the plastic edging. And it would look nice too. Now I just need a day off with nice weather to finish cleaning things up in the area where stuff has finished for the season. I have been using a hole digging shovel to dig up the top 12 inches of soil and breaking the dirt loose from the grass and weeds that are still out of control on that half of the garden. I'm hoping by doing that I'm managing to get rid of all the roots too so that darn grass doesn't come back. Two of our front yard trees have to be cut down by the city (they are the cities trees) because they are a property damage danger. One is being eaten by termites or something (saw dust galore from the burrowing) and the other is leaning heavy into the road and has top support roots exposed too much and they think it is a falling danger. This means I may have half the leaves I was expecting to have if they cut them down prior to them loosing all their leaves. Our trees tend to wait until late november to drop their leaves.

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Weeding problem

Weeds are simply plants! Of course they will grow well in your fertile garden.
Weeds come from seeds from plants that went to seed in you area, or they may come from seeds that blew in on the wind.
Some plants, like Quack Grass, have very tenacious roots that you must dig up and remove from the garden. Toss them in the garbage can.
To remove weeds, pull them, hoe them up. Whatever it takes, but it is something you have to work at.
Ever use a wheel hoe? These are great for between rows. Then you take a hoe and go between the plants. You may also need to hand pull what is left and too close to the desired plants.

If you have a rototiller and a fairly large garden be sure to plant the rows wide enough apart that you can run the tiller between rows to cultivate and weed.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 28047
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Weeding problem

I find the simple half-moon edging tool to be very effective for maintaining the garden boundary. There is a more heavy duty kind but I went with the less expensive one. It's a HUGE difference tying to edge with this tool vs. straight garden shovel.

I cut the sod with this tool, then just pull up the rest of the grass if barely encroaching into the garden bed, or use the flat shovel to skim the sod up.

Sod and grass with roots go in the compost pile but on top where they can dry out and die. I leave them piled upside down separately if necessary, or sometimes bury them in the bottom of tree, etc, deep planting hole or base layer or a new raised, sheet mulched bed. Grass sod and roots hold on to the good topsoil and when the sod breaks down, makes excellent rich compost/soil mix.

Sometimes, any kind of edging just gets in the way.
My other solution as mentioned before is cardboard and mulch... And plenty of trampling the permanent paths when soil is soggy/muddy. Incorporating a path along the perimeter of the garden just inside the fencing in the garden design is one way to keep the grass from getting into the garden beds and creates a buffer zone from outside influences where the garden is close to property border.

...another is to dig a shallow trench using the edging tool (I use the edging tool as width of the trench guide) just outside of the fence. This needs to be done in such a way that the animals can't dig under the fence. I've ended up mounding the beds inside of the fence into raised beds where I have tried the trench edging method so the bottom of the fence is basically well buried from the inside, and I pile the dug up soil at the base of the fence on the outside.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”