New SFG with weeds, weeds weeds

gabbygardnerMay 10, 2009

I have read many sites about the Square Foot Garden and the book by Mel and one of the things I really liked was that they always said that weeds were almost non-existent in the beds. Did I imagine that part of the book and the sites I have researched or is it, in fact, true.

As you have probably guessed, I have many weeds already. They are really small, but they are growing all over the place. When I went out this morning and there are little clumps of these weeds all over. I have used garden soil, chicken and steer manure along with peat moss and some top soil down deep. My beds are really deep, so I can reach them better, so we added some drainage gravel and some top soil under my growing mixture.

Did I make a mistake adding any of those? I guess it could be something flying in on the wind.

Any ideas, I am getting frustrated and my garden is still very young;)

Here is a picture of the weed. They are all exactly the same, weird.

Thanks for any help you can give!!


Here is a link that might be useful: Lettuce seedling with weed

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Most likely, you got your weeds from the garden soil. Mel tells you to use Mel's Mix in the new book, which as you know consists of 1/3 peat, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 compost. With those ingredients, you should pretty much be weed free.

Even with the mix, weed seeds can still be blown into your garden or transported by many other means, but it shouldn't take you more than 10 minutes to weed the entire garden once a week. I've never had a weed yet this season and it's been almost 2 months.

Also, what did you put under the box? Did you put landscape fabric or newspaper down before you filled it? If you didn't, that could be a problem as well.

Just pick the weeds out. After a few really good weeding sessions, you should get 95% or more of them out and only have to weed once a week for the rest of the season.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 1:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oops, I forgot to tell you that your link to the picture doesn't work.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 1:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Were your manures bagged product or from the "farm" ? I added some fairly fresh horse manure to the top of a couple beds last fall and they are much weedier than last year (when I used very very aged manure). I still don't have a terrible number of weeds, but more than I had. I would guess if they are all the same weed, manure could be the source.

I think once you get past this crop of weeds, it won't be bad. When your plants are big, there's not much light for weeds. You may also want to use some mulch (shredded leaves for example)

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 1:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks you two, I really appreciate your help.

I was unable to find the vermiculite stated in Mel's book, as I live in a very small town and our two stores:) did not carry it, or were out. Unfortunately the employees didn't even know what I was talking about. I guess that's the price we pay:)

So, first ??: my beds are 4 inches of gravel, layer of landscape cloth; 4 inches of topsoil from neighboring farmer (Idaho Potato Fields); then 4 inches of mixed store bought chicken and steer manure; peat and the garden mix.

My compost is not done yet, and it is the first time I have even attempted composting, so I am a little nervous.

I really hope you are right and it is just a few here and there. I wasn't especially worried until yesterday when I had so many in the morning that had popped up.

Thanks a ton, it helps to have an idea about what may be happening. Please let me know what you think of my soil mixture; you can be honest-I can take it:0)


Here is a link that might be useful: Try again on picture-lettuce with weed on it's left

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 11:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rachel597(5A ME)

How frustrating that must be!

Yes, from everything I have read about SFG and the examples I have seen, weeds are almost non-existent. I am sure this depends on the mix. If there are weed seeds in the items added to the mix, they are going to sprout.

All is not lost though. The best thing you can do now is pull the weeds as you see them and not let them reseed in your SFG. Eventually they will go away except for the ones that may be brought to the surface or blow in with the wind.

Here is a link that might be useful: GrafixMuse's Garden Spot

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 1:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
engineeredgarden(7, nw Alabama)

Weed seeds can be introduced in many ways, and most common would be airborne. But, the 4" of topsoil from the neighboring farmer would be a really likely culprit too, in my opinion. Hopefully, the numbers will decline as they are removed.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 1:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks Everyone!!!

I appreciate your help and look forward to hearing how all the gardens do this year:)


    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 2:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've had a big problem with weeds this year too. I used some of my homemade compost and I'm guessing that it didn't get hot enough to kill any seed that may have been in it. So now I've got grass popping up all over. However, with the SFG method it is much easier to pull those weeds since the soil is nice and loose!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 9:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have an ongoing battle with bindweed.Farmers hate it. It twines around the corn and wraps around my pepper plants. I just get out there and pull it every spring and continue the job all summer long.I may have picked up the seed from some hay that I used to mulch with.Persistence is a virtue.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 10:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I used peat moss and good compost which was store bought so I also have very few weeds. Trying to follow the book, I wanted to start my own compost bin so I got a truck load of three year old cow manure from a farmer nearby. I put the compost bin together and added a little of the manure to my flower beds because he said it wasn't new enough to burn my plants however the weeds started taking over almost over night. Good luck with your sfg. I love mine and look forward to going out each morning to look at it. I pulled weeds for the first time today. My garden has been in about six weeks.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 11:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

This is just one more reason I always try to distinguish between Mel's Mix and "My Mix". Mel boast a weed free garden bc he is suggesting people purchase his sterilized (weed free) mix.

I am not opposed to making your own stuff. In fact, that is what gardening is all about. I don't use Mel's Mix myself, but then I do NOT call My Mix - Mel's Mix either.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 7:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
eaglesgarden(6b - se PA)

Weeds are a part of gardening. NOTHING is going to be weed free. Seeds will be delivered by wind, birds, some compost, etc. The beauty of a friable soil, and a small area is that the weeds can be easily removed!

Personnally, when I have a LOT of baby weeds, I use a hand cultivator. I pick the weeds up that are now lying on the surface. I come back to hand pick any that manage to reroot themselves the next day or two. No big deal. The hand cultivator and a friable mix are a perfect compliment to each other. You can "weed" baby weeds out of a 4'x4' box in about 10 minutes or less. Come back for a minute or two the next few days and you've spent about 15 minutes "weeding" a 4'x4' box over the course of the week, and have no weeds.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 10:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am glad to hear I am not the only one with these little lovelies!! I did go through and weed them all out yesterday and it was very easy and quick. So, I won't complain too much.

I am trying a different kind of garden soil on the next bed I am finishing. We'll see if that helps or hinders. I did find a blown-in dandelion sitting in one bed yesterday. We have had a lot of wind, so I expect that is my culprit.

Thanks for all the input, I am looking forward to a fun summer of gardening and pulling those little devil weeds!

See below, I have added a picture of my new garden - I love it!!! I can't wait to finish it. The curbed in place to the left will be for my corn and pumpkins, we grow lots of pumpkins!!

Can someone help me out on this adding a picture thing: I don't think it is working for me:( Can anyone see the picture?

Happy Gardening All,


Here is a link that might be useful: My New Garden

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 12:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Upload your photos to Picasa or Photobucket or similar online photo spot. On Picasa (I haven't used the others), to the right of the photo, click where it says to link to the photo. To add as a link, copy the first one and paste in the link spot on GW. To embed the photo, copy the 2nd one and paste into your text. When you preview your post, the embedded photos should show up.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 1:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One of the nice things about SFG is the soil is so loose. just grab and pull the weeds as fast as you can. They come out roots and all very easily. Once the garden really gets going the tight planting should crowd and shade out most of the weeds that come up later. Again they pull up very easily. I worked my composts and peat into the underlying soil and also have a maple that drops seeds everywhere. I just spend 5 minutes weeding every day. It's easy fast and I get a close up look at all my plants while I'm doing it. Even the zoysia that made it into the bed from the tilling is easy to remove.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 2:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Okay, that was interesting. Here is my garden, a work in progress, obviously..... From Drop Box

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 3:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

gabby, your boxes look great! I especially like the shape of the ones in the corner. It makes me want to re-do mine :)

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 8:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know, my wonderful husband did those. It was kind of a surprise. I knew he was going to do my boxes, but not that he would be so creative. I just love them. I can't wait until they are all done and I can grow, grow, grow:)

Thanks, I am glad you like them!!!


    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 9:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yeah I am getting weeds from the "propeller" seeds from a tree. There are gobs and gobs of them and they frustrate the poop outta me. I do have to pull those and there are some I am not sure if it is spinach or tree weeds (the spinach is really pitiful and just cant bring myself to pull it and restart the squares with something else).

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 11:50AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Safe insecticide: Olive Oil, Dish Soap, Water
I'm going to try a safe insecticide first before going...
My sister broke my corn tassel!
Long story short, I have a few corn plants growing...
Nila Arivoli
Watery soil under raised bed
Hey all, I am new to raised beds, just started construction...
Garlic crop rotating?
I started a bed 4'x6' last full of garlic. I was a...
Filling my raised bed
Ok, I'm new to gardening but am planning on constructing...
Matt Cauwels
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™