Chives, new garden question

runswithscissors(MT 4/5)July 20, 2010

Hello all,

This spring I decided to turn a 1/4 acre weed-plot into a garden. First I rounded-up the whole area. Once it was mostly dead I rototilled it all in. Then watered for a few weeks, then weeded, then rolotilled again. This fall I'm bringing in manure, and rototilling it in, before letting the ground rest until spring.

Now my problem: Much of the area was/is overrun with oregano, mint and chives. Round-up worked on the oregano and mint, but nothing has killed the chives. Now please, let me stress, I'm not talking about a few clumps of cute, little, round fairy-land chives. I'm talking about a patch so large and thick that a big rototiller has trouble breaking ground. They point and laugh at me, drink round-up like it's orange juice, and bloom wildly. I had to mow them, down the fence line, which made the air sickening with a garlic smell (and I love garlic!), which led me to believe they are indeed, garlic chives. Short of shovel digging each small bulb up I don't know how to get rid of them. The ground is very rocky, graveley and hard-pan, so understandably this is the last thing I wish to do.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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sandhill_farms(10 NV)

You could possibly cover the area with a thick black plastic and leave it there until fall when you add the manure.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 11:42PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Usually we're answering questions on how to keep herbs on the brink of death alive not kill them.

Chives are incredibly tolerant of nearly every growing condition in the continental US except in hottest and driest parts of the country. I expect them to continue to laugh at you and keep popping up. Rather than using chemicals, use hard work and pull anything that pops up out - roots, bulbs, and all. You will have to keep at it because the dropped seeds will sprout.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 9:22AM
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runswithscissors(MT 4/5)

Thank you for the suggestions, but here is what transpired: I had a spinkler man come out and put in a sprinkler system for me...he also owns a nursery. Here's what he told me: garlic chives are hard to get established in our area, and in great demand. He suggested I put an ad in the paper. So I did. I placed it in the free-section...Garlic Chives, U-dig. I've alread had about 25 calls!! Win-Win. Folks get free chives, and I get my garden dug up! (I put a little wire cage around a small patch for myself) Would you believe, people are so nice they are atually starting a rock pile for me?!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 1:23PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Yes. Many people do look for plants and herbs for free. I often suggest that to people even those with "weeds" like dandelion and stinging nettle. There are those who will harvest and/or remove those plants for you. No chemicals or cost involved. It's just connecting with the right folks. I'm glad it's working for you!


    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 9:27AM
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I just have cute clumps of chives (both garlic and regular). Glad the free ad worked out for you. I have used FreeCycle to get rid of big ugly hostas.

I am gardening on old field land that contains lots of grass that spreads by runners, a pretty but evil viney weed with scalloped leaves, etc. I have been really desperate and had my DH simply dig a bed with his backhoe and then fill it with half decent soil/compost/manure, etc. But, it takes a lot to fill the gaping holes. Then I got a book on Lasagna Gardening. You don't do any digging or rototilling. You put down layers of wet newspapers and then layers of grass clippings, chopped leaves, manure, etc. The first beds I built were at least 24" tall but they settle down a lot over winter and two years later are actually sunken. I guess it's also a form of sheet composting. In the spring I topped the beds off with well composted horse manure that had been mixed with kitchen scraps, bedding, etc - a terrific Craigslist find. I just pay a $15 for the guy to load my utility trailer with as much as he thinks is safe to haul.

The creeping weeds still want in and I had not kept one bad of winter squash well weeded. Come fall I tend to neglect garden chores. This spring I decided to warm the soil with black plastic. A neighbor had told me she puts the plastic down for several months on old pasture and it kills everything. I only had the plastic down for a few weeks in early spring but it was enough to kill the weeds. They were easy to rake off. I have a nice tomato bed there this year.

I would put the black plastic down now. Depending on where you live you should find everything dead in a month or so. Next spring for sure. THEN you can top or till in with manure. I have an old Mantis tiller that is hard to start and I finally stopped using it. The soil is so loose I can just easily turn it over with a spade.

My old herb garden get half day shade and this year I moved plants to a sunnier location around my small kitchen porch. It's been a hot summer but the pile of composted horse manure that I mean to shovel onto the bed weeks ago was still sitting there. When I started to shovel, I found lots of nice fat worms. I don't know why they were so close to the surface of the soil in such hot weather.

I'm afraid all that rototilling on not quite dead bulbs and roots is just cutting them all up to make a worse problem.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 1:46PM
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I cant believe that you are priming a new vegetable garden by soaking it in round-up! And that no one else commented on it.

I'm not totally "organic" but broadleaf herbicides are not something you want your veg beds full of.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 7:49AM
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