keeping weeds out of Onions???

pitterpat_2009March 30, 2010

I planted I think Copra onions for the first time last year and still have some in my garage and look fresh as the

day I put them there last fall, so I want to plant lots more this year but some didn't get very big due to the weeds that got out of hand. I haven't figured out a good way to weed between the narrow rows I plant them in. 4 inches apart in rows and 6 to 8 inches wide from row to row

hard to run the stirrup how with out taking out the bulbs or drip tape running down the center...any good tips or beter planting suggestions.

BTW these onions are a wonderful cooking onion any tips on a good keeping sweet onion?? We love copra onions as they keep well from week to week going to market.

Pit-Pat

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chester5731(5)

I put down plastic mulch with drip tape underneath. I put a row down each side spaced six inches apart. There are a few weeds here and there but it doesn't take long to pull them out. I did two thousand last year and am planting six thousand this year.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 10:25AM
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pitterpat_2009

How do you make the holes in the plastic and at what distance for your onions? It must have worked well for you if you are planting that many more then last year.
Thanks,
PP

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 4:20PM
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chester5731(5)

I made a wheel six foot in circumferance(sp) and put a bolt in every six inches and put a handle on it. I just roll it along and it puts a hole and then go back and stick the onions in.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 4:25PM
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pitterpat_2009

That's a wonderful idea, I may have to go to the good will and see what I can come up with to make this wheel of sorts, sounds like a time saver for sure.
Thanks

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 9:37PM
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brookw_gw

Last year, I lost at least a thousand onions because I couldn't get the weeds controlled--endless rain. That will not happen again---herbicides. Treflan granules or for organics corn gluten. I tested the gluten last year and wasn't impressed, but then last year was a record breaker for rain. This is my first year with Treflan, and so far it has worked. 40 lbs for $30; sprinkle it on and forget about it. For the smaller gardener, Preen would be good too.

Brook

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 9:50PM
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pitterpat_2009

There is something called weed ban from fertrell I was checking on but no local dealer near me.
I don't use the chemical herbicides as I grow small amounts compared to most at my market and advertise as chemical free. So its a never ending battle which is why
we were happy to find the used mulch layer. But only used it on cuc's and tomatoes last year and basil worked great
loved the mulch layer but a real job picking it up in the fall.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 10:14PM
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randy41_1

i mulch mine with straw immediately after the first weeding. by then the onions are big enough to mulch around.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 12:20PM
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boulderbelt(5/6)

I do a lot of copra onions (among other types) and do not do them on plastic. The trick is to have 18" between the rows of onions and space the onions about 6" apart. This gives you lots of room to hoe. A wheel hoe is a very nice thing to have as it does around 5x more work with about 1/3rd the effort than a hoe alone

Pitterpat, if you are concerned about waste think before using plastic mulch as it lasts just one season and very few places in the US will recycle it which means it goes into the land fill (unless you can figure out what to do with thousands of feet of used, ripped up, dirty thin plastic mulch). I have taken to using landscape fabric for such mulch as it will last at least 5 years. I make holes in that by burning them with a small propane torch

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 9:35AM
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tommyk

We use grass clippings which are great. Make sure you let them dry out first then just lay them at least 2" thick. They work great at keeping weeds from growing and moisture in.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 3:59PM
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pitterpat_2009

I know the waste issues do bother me about the plastic mulch but the time I had to spend weeding and the water
evaportion helps me justify using it. I only used it last
year on 200 ft of tomatoes and 100 ft of peppers and maybe 50 feet of basil and parsley its a wonderful thing to pick
parsley and basil in a weed free zone and the harvest was way better so it is justified in a still reluctant kind of way. I don't see me using much over 500 ft per year as I am not a market grower of quantity but more of specialty items such as fingerlings, cherry tomatoes, chili's .
I apprecitate the suggestions greatly thanks to all.
PP

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 10:12PM
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boulderbelt(5/6)

PP,

I also grow specialty produce on small acreage but use a lot more than 500' of plastic mulch (that would be 10 beds with landscape fabric our of 250 beds). I mean I will do 40 beds of peppers, eggplant and tomatoes so right there is over 2000' of the stuff (and we mulch other things as well with the landscape fabric for around 4000' of mulching)

And because you are doing so little mulching you are a great candidate for landscape fabric as it comes in 100' rolls (instead of the 2500' rolls of disposable plastic mulch) Granted, the landscape fabric does cost about 5x more but it lasts 10x longer (so it really becomes twice as cheap in the long run) and does a better job of weed suppression because it will not rip during the season.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 5:46AM
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pitterpat_2009

Is this strong enough to be laid with a 3 pt mulch layer?
Where can I buy this sounds like i shoould try it.
thanks

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 9:13AM
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boulderbelt(5/6)

You can buy landscape fabric at any garden center/box store/farm store/landscaping supply. I see AM Leonard has it in bulk. It is a lot stronger than plastic mulch so should have no problems with a mulch layer, though since we put our mulch down by hand I cannot say for sure

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 5:31AM
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wackybell(z5 WI)

I tried plastic mulch on onions last year. But I live in a very windy area and the friction of the baby onion against the flappy plastic was a bad idea.

My bumble opinion on using plack platic in the market garden:

Market garnding is labor intensive. If you plan on still doing this in 10 years you should invest in a plastic mulch layer. Not only to save your back on laying the plastic by hand, but in the weeding over the years.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 10:31AM
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