Trying again - prepraing weedy raised beds for new garden

sheisaeval(Dallas, Texas)January 9, 2014

What's the best way to prepare some overgrown, weedy raised beds for planting when spring comes? My raised bed gardens last year were pretty much a flop so I am trying again this year. One of the problems we had last year was too much weeds. Although we weeded and we put down a straw mulch, grass and weeds kept on growing from the edges of the beds and it was overgrown quickly. We plan to mulch at least a foot or two on the ground away from the bed this year, which might help.

Anyway, what can we do now to prepare the beds? Right now it's filled with a ton of yellow-dead grasses and weeds. Should we pull the weeds and then cover it with mulch or compost? Should we dig out all the of the soil and redo the bottom layer of cardboard that we put under the box? Or something else?

Any other tips would be great. Thanks

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Pulling weeds is a periodic but constant chore. You're never finished, and there's no product or method you can use to stop them permanently. If there was, we'd all have/use it & there would be no weeds (and the inventor would be the richest person - ever!)

When you see something sprouting, pull it out before it becomes difficult to do so. When you are walking around, looking at your lovely yard, pull them when you see them. Don't wait until you 'have weeding to do.' That's no fun & a lot more time consuming.

Yes, I would start with a clean slate by pulling them now. This is the time of year I can see little tree sprouts hidden by foliage during summer.

A weed-wacker/trimmer should be able to help you keep the lawn from being able to climb into raised box/beds. Maybe I'm not imagining your situation correctly? Feel free to add a pic to get the most specific suggestions.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 9:36AM
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I'd just flatten down the dead grass & weeds, put a layer of compost, then a thick layer of mulch on top of that & let it sit until you are ready to start your garden- that way its less work & the organic material will break down and feed your soil/plants. But that's just what I would do, you can do whatever you'd like- pull old plant material out & compost it or incorporate it into the bed. If you have any living weeds pull those out. I'm wondering if you used hay for mulch maybe rather than straw? I always see that listed as something to watch out for because hay seeds can germinate & become weeds in your bed. Personally I use fallen pine needles from a tree in my area as mulch because its a free source and it works pretty well.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 6:45PM
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I would suggest that you use some weed killer, just along the outside edges of your raised beds. Find one that doesn't kill the grass. Or else, as stated, pile on the compost and mulch in the fall when you are done harvesting. This will insulate it for the winter and hopefully smother any new weeds and grass. If it doesn't seem like it will work, I would pull the bed up. Cardboard isn't necessary underneath. All you really need to do is take away the top layer of grass. Maybe pull the bed up and move it to a different spot?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 1:13PM
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Hey! I'm in Arlington and I'll be starting some raised beds this year too! We should be buddies :3 Enjoying the snow outside atm?

I would suggest pavers around the outside of the box after you've killed back the grass/weeds-how I'd like to do it and go hand pull everything currently in the box without remorse, no matter what it is, get it out. Then till up the soil really good to aerate it and pull any roots inside you find too.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 10:39AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

JMSGARDENS.....I would appreciate it if you would stop spamming my email immediately. I am not interested in whatever you are selling and will never open an unsolicited attachment.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 7:50PM
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