weed control

nana8(5)June 14, 2012

How do most of you control the weeds in your gardens? I have gotten a large new garden this year. I had it roto-tilled early ,then did not have the time to plant. So then I mowed the weeds and roto-tilled again. I am planting now and don't want that to happen again. Do most of you use a tiller regularly or weed guard, or chemicals? Thanks for any help you can give me.

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magz88(5a - Central Ontario)

I live on 1/4 acre lot so I am able to do everything by hand. If the area is very weedy I will just turn the bed and then either hand pull the loosened weeds or rake them out. Usually I can stay on top of them though.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 10:33AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Heavy mulching will keep weeds down and help prevent evaporation of moisture. It can also enrich the soil and cut down on the amount of chemicals needed.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 6:05PM
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Thanks to both of you for your help. I live on a half acre and it is simply overwhelming sometime. I think I still have some time to plant squash and pumpkins to fill some space. Wish me luck.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 12:42AM
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thinman(Z5 MI)

My garden is about a half acre and fighting the weeds is truly a pain. I use a rototiller where there is enough room, and hand tools elsewhere. I swore that I was going to buy plastic mulch film this year, but I think there is a lot of labor in laying it down and especially in covering all the edges with soil to hold it in place. I also thought about Preen, and may get some yet.

Good luck to all of us.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 2:12PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

In theory, I mulch heavily.

In reality, I mulch heavily, but usually too late, after the weeds have grown way too tall and I have to hand-weed everything. THEN I put down newspaper between the plants and put down my mulch on top of that. I like shredded leaves the best, but if I am out of them I sometimes resort to shredded paper, which I have on hand to use in the compost or in lasagna beds. It makes a pretty good mulch; it's just blindingly white on a sunny day, lol!

If I could just get myself to get out there and plant earlier and mulch earlier, I'd save myself so much work. As it stands, though, I spend a large part of my summer weeding away.

Doesn't roto-tilling just churn up more weeds seed ready and eager to germinate? Or so I thought I heard...


    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 7:33PM
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thinman(Z5 MI)

Dee - I agree that rototilling probably just stirs up weed seeds, but I usually figure that whatever comes along with the new batch of seeds can't possibly be any worse than what is already there, and what's coming won't be here for two or three weeks, at least. Rototilling is relatively fast, and if it buys me a few weeks of weed-free time, it feels well worth it to me. I can repeat as needed. Too bad I can't get in between the individual plants with it.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 10:58AM
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I use thick layers of rice straw (no seeds). It keeps the soil moist and cool and it seems to break down relatively quickly which then gets tilled in the fall and the beds are ready to plant in the spring. My pathways are wood chips but they need to be replenished every year pretty much which is a big job. None of us is getting out weed free!!! Kat

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 10:03PM
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Kitkat, When you till in the wood chips does it change the PH of the soil, or have any effect on the crops?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 12:03AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

If you have a truck and live near any suburban area, you can drive around in the fall and confiscate the bags of leaves other people set out at the curb for the waste collectors. My sister does this and gets between 300 and 400 of those big paper bags. She just piles them up for the winter and when spring/planting time rolls around, she opens up the bags as she needs them.

I don't have a truck, myself, but I've been known to rent a U-haul and a friend and go on a one-night spree. I easily got enough for my mulching needs. Good luck!


    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 7:49AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Martha, I have almost fifty oak trees, lol! I've got plenty of leaves. My problem is the shredding of them. I've got a Flowtron, which many people disparage but which I really love. My problem is I've also got so darn many sticks, and its really time consuming to pick out the sticks, which the Flowtron can't handle after a certain size. I wish I could afford a bigger, heavier machine which could do sticks and leaves (although, to be honest, when I look at some of these machines it looks like they have a separate tube for sticks, so if I have to pull them out of the leaves anyway it's not much help, lol!)

I have been known to rake leaves OUT of the woods in spring, after raking them back there in the fall, lol. But again, when I go to shred them, the same problem. I always seem to hope that sitting there all winter that the sticks will somehow settle to the bottom but it just doesn't seem to work that way.

All that being said, I have been sorely tempted often by bags of leaves on the curb as I drive by. Because even though I'd still have to shred them, the work of raking them has been done!


    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 8:10PM
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