russ498
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Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 4:16 pm

New Garden Preparation?????

I just tilled up a 30 x 30 spot for a vegetable garden. The space had mostly grass with a lot of crabgrass mixed in. What can I do to keep the grass and crabgrass from reestablishes itself? I had hoped to plant a few fall vegetables now, but could wait until next spring if need be. What I am looking for specifically is either some type of herbicide that would not be detrimental to the vegetables were some other method of eliminating the grass and crabgrass. I have tilled the area twice and anticipate turning it several more times this week. Thanks all

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JosephsGarden
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Location: Cache Valley, Rocky Mountains
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Re: New Garden Preparation?????

Crabgrass is an annual. It is killed by routine cultivation and weeding. The seeds are long lived in the soil, but the young plants die easily when disturbed so not much of a problem in a garden. It can be prevented from re-establishing itself by consistent and thorough weeding during the entire growing season so that it is prevented from producing seeds.

A lot of grasses that are used in lawns have weak root systems that also die readily when disturbed. The most difficult grasses will be the perennial grasses with robust rhizomes. Best way I have found to deal with them is to dig up the rhizomes. Tilling them just creates more copies of itself.

I prefer to cultivate, irrigate, then wait to cultivate again until the weeds are just sprouting. This kills annual weeds when they are most vulnerable, and causes perennial weeds to exhaust their food supply (if repeated consistently enough for long enough).

russ498
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Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 4:16 pm

Re: New Garden Preparation?????

Thanks. I am going to try to rake as many of the runners out as possible. Every time I turn it, I have a whole new crop. It's a shame you can't eat crabgrass. I would be set for the winter!!!

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: New Garden Preparation?????

I learned a trick from a friend that makes it easier to kill grass. She used an old carpet to cover the ground and left it there for a few weeks. Thick cardboard will probably work too. Without light the grass died and was easier to hoe up and scrape off, then she tilled and watered. If any weeds came up, they were pulled. Then the soil was amended and the garden planted. Roof flashing was placed around the edge of the garden plot to keep surrounding grass from creeping back in.

It is a slower process, but since August is not a great planting month anyway, it required the least work.

It is still a good month to solarize though. After taking off the grass, you could probably put down the 4 mil clear plastic and solarize, which should help kill the weeds and nematodes that are in the first 4-6 inches of the soil.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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