New Here and... Weeds, weeds everywhere.

my_secret_garden(5)April 28, 2006

Hi all. I am new to this website and this forum. My name is Manda and I am 24 and I live in Eastern Iowa. I have always been interested in gardening but never did much more than help my mom plant veggies and a couple of rose bushes.... but now I own my own home and I am faced with a large task.

My husband owned this home before we met and he didn't do much more to take care of the lawn and yard than mow and occasionally trim the rose bush in front. I have finally coerced him into realizing that we need to take better care of our yard and that he needs to help me make things prettier! So, to say the least, my yard has been in utter disrepair for a long time but it is slowly getting better.

I've spent the last couple of weeks cleaning up junk (car parts, bike parts, misc clutter) and getting dead leaves and other various yard waste off of our desk and now I am into the "good stuff". I have been having a really hard time getting rid of weeds and crabgrass, clovers, and creeping charley out of my yard. I tried chemicals like Round-up to get rid of them but that didn't help. I could really use some advice on getting rid of these things. I do have a dog that is out in the yard a lot so I don't want to expose him to anything harmful... and a lot of the weeds are near my flowers in the front yard.

I guess I am kind of overwhelmed by the amount of work that is in front of me. Aside from doing more clean-up and landscaping work with timbers, rocks, lights, bricks, etc, I also want to plant flowers. I am thinking about planting moonflowers and morning glories along my privacy fence. Does this seem like a good idea? I have a privacy fence on two sides of my yard. Should I try to do it on both sides?

Any advice and maybe just a "you can do it" would be so helpful. Heh. Thanks for reading my story/plea. Hope eveyrone is enjoying the beautiful weather!


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Hi Manda!

Welcome to the boards. I'm new here myself and am only a few years older than yourself. You most certainly "can do it"! Don't get discouraged. These things take time. I agree that the fun part is actually planting and seeing things grow but it is best to get the groundwork done first.

I'm surprised that the roundup didn't work. It is pretty toxic stuff. Make sure that you are mixing the right amounts together if going from concentrate. I wouldn't worry about the clover - it is soft and I think it actually looks okay in a lawn. Crabgrass and quackgrass are another story. I haven't any experience with creeping charlie (yet) ;)

Work on improving your soil if that need be the case. Mine is heavily clay and low in nitrogen & some other nutrients that are beneficial to plants. Being in a relatively new subdivision - all of the top soil was scraped off when they built the house - ack! But anyway - your flowers and other plants will do SO much better if the soil is good.

Tanna B.

PS - get some pizza delivered and invite a whole bunch of workers, er.....friends over and get some of that heavy work done for yourself ;)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 10:53AM
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Hello Manda

First thing to remember about rehabbing a lawn and garden is that it takes time. You can't do it all in one week-end and actually it might take a couple of summers to get on top of the weeds. It took me 3 summers to get rid of creeping charlie.

There are weed chemicals like Roundup and Weed-Be-Gone that with repeated use, will kill most of the weeds. But, they also can be harmfull to your dog and they deplete your soil of the good micro "critters".

One trick to using the weed sprays, is to fertilize the weeds with something like Miracle Grow liquid fertilizer. this make the weeds happy and growing...then after 4 -5 days you hit 'em with Weed-Be-Gone, mixed as the lable directs. Weeds are easier to kill when they are actively growing. You can do both with a hose end sprayer on a calm the weed killer can be a problem for flowers and veggies.

You might try to physically pull them with a Weed Hound tool. It's made by Hound Dog Tool Co in Eden Prairie, MN and it works great. I use one and no longer spray weeds.

You can get one at Home Depot for around $20 and they sell on line too...just google "Weed Hound"

I'd wait until fall to plant any grass as planting any now might not make it thru July and Aug without alot of water ($$$) Work on the weeds this summer and plant some grass after Labor Day.

You also might look in the Lawn Care area...there is lots of interesting info on organic lawn care. However, some of the organic disciples are real zealots so you have to filter some of the retoric.

And you can always post your questions here as ther are some really experienced folks that post here. (not me be the way)

Good luck and be patient

Pete in IF

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 12:54PM
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I've got another take on building a beautiful's good exercise if you DIY! I created several garden areas the year I decided I didn't want to be fat anymore (I was very large). Nothing better than getting outside and getting some activity in, sure beats sitting on some exercise machine (well..I do that too sometimes). That was 80 pounds ago, and we live in a park now.

Since I planted so much, now I have to maintain it, which means more exercise. ;) My doctor thought I was exaggerating when I said I got exercise gardening, he doesn't know what kind (and how much) gardening I really do! Try removing 40' of sod with a sod cutter, then tell me it's not "real" exercise!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 2:52PM
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I really appreciate all of the replies that I have gotten. It was so nice to get some advice and encouragement and I can't wait to read and chat more with everyone.

First of all, I was really surprised by the Round-Up stuff not working. It was the pre=mixed stuff and it surely did not work. Not only that but I went out in the front yard today and the dandilions are even bigger and taller now! I would like to get most of them out by hand, that is not a big deal, but a lot of them are in between my tulips and hosta plants in the front yard and they are surrounded by landscaping rocks so I may have to just remove those by hand with a smaller weeder.

I was so happy today! I had my yonger brother and sister (17 and 14 respectively) and my little sister's boyfriend and my mom over and everyone helped me with the yard today! My brother mowed my lawn (he loves to mow for some reason) and my sister and her boyfriend helped clear out the leaves and junk off of my concrete patio while my mom and I raked the lawn of all the nasty decomposed leaves, twigs, branches, etc. And when all of that was done, my mom and sister and I planted a bunch of Morning Glories and Moonflowers along my privacy fence and then we put Impatiens along the back of the house, planted a couple of Dianthus Raspberry Parfait plants in pots in my back yard. Also in the back we planted bulbs for a couple of kinds of flowers. In the front my mom and I planted Begonias and Moss Rose plants.

While my mom and I were planting those in the flower boxes in my front yard, some lady walked by with her kids and said, "Oh kids look at the pretty flowers!" and I was so excited. FINALLY my yard is looking nice enough that people are complimenting it. That hardest thing though is that my road is very busy and I get a lot of trash in my yard. It's so frustrating to try to keep up with getting the trash out of the yard. I think I might get an extra (small) garbage can to put by the fence so that I can just pick up trash and dump it in there.

I really appreciate all the suggestions and feel better about everything now that I have made a substantial amount of progress and that I know I will not be able to get rid of all the weeds right away and that not all of the work is going to get done immediately. But the fresh air and exercise is good for me and the sun is good for me too according to my Dr. :) It was encouraging, too, to hear someone say that they got some good exercise gardening and congratulations on your weight loss! It must have taken some hard work!

Thanks again and look forward to posting more soon!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 10:14PM
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I agree it all takes time but boy the outcome sure is nice. We too live on a very busy street with about 4 feet of space between the sidewalk and road. Full of junk and stones and weeds etc. I finally just let it go all by itself. Wasting my time trying to keep it clean and weed free. Never ending cycle.
Took us 6 years and still going to get ours into shape but oh the joy to see it come together.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 11:41PM
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How do you deal with the trash? I get trash in my front yard EVERY day... not a ton of it but plenty. I just get so irritated about picking it up!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 12:04AM
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l84tea(IA Zn5)

I know what you mean, we bought this house last August and the yard was just full of weeds. I did weed and feed in the fall after we thatched the yard in the fall. Since the yard was filled with weeds the ones that did die left barespots. Last weekend I bought a Weed Hound, I have spent the last week pulling all that I could out. Now... I used LawnSoil and filled in the bare spots and laid new seed. I am hoping this rain we are getting now will help it get started. I still have lots to do!! But it has taken a LOT of just time and elbow work! I have a dream of having 'barefoot grass' Just like I had in my yard as a kid. LOL! It really is going to be a lot of work because my neighbors do NOT treat their lawns!! :(

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 8:50AM
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