Will this stop nutgrass? I hadn't thought so, but...

merrybookwyrmOctober 26, 2010

North Haven Gardens has a link to a post about square foot gardening on the "growlively blog", http://growlively.typepad.com/growlively/. The author of the blog is of the opinion that the easiest way to build raised beds, with soil 8" to 10" deep, is to put newspaper and weed block fabric on top of the existing soil, or to put watered cardboard on top of the existing soil, without tilling it. Then one puts the raised be on top of that, if I understand aright.

This "easiest way to go", the author feels, won't stimulate? weed seeds, nutgrass, and bermuda grass.

But what does "easiest way to go" mean in relation to nutgrass? I would have thought it would laugh and grow up right through the newspaper and weedcloth or watered cardboard.

What is your opinion, please?

It would be nice to put aside nutgrass killing efforts and garden in a raised bed for awhile. Hah. I had thought to be killing nutgrass for at least another summer before I dared put raised beds where I want them.

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Lynn Marie

Good question. I've done that method and I've had two issues. First is the bermuda finds its way in. Second is that the carrots hit the hard clay and stop. You get some funny looking carrots. But I didn't put that much down. You might have better luck with more cardboard. Or, use round up, Image, or Manage first, then wait a day or two.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 4:00PM
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Chemicals kill the top growth but not the "nut", & besides they cost money & who knows what they actually do to the environment...

I like cardboard, but it doesn't stay on the ground long enough to starve out the nut/corm/bulb/evil pod.

The best way I've found is to turn the soil & let it rest for a few days so that the roots dry out & loosen their grip on the soil;
then you can pull the whole plant out without breaking any of it off to clone itself.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 5:23PM
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When I moved, there were no beds prepared for my plants so I used the moving boxes and made raised beds with a good quailty soil mixture (not box store).

The problems I have run into are the fire ants love the soil, the grass still finds its way into the bed, and the beds dry out real fast.

It was still faster than preparing beds, but I lost several plants because the soil dried out so fast.

Another thing to watch for is when cutting and trimming boarders in the your yard, the seeds from weeds will blow around and land in places not wanted, thus weeds in beds.


    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 9:33AM
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First a lesson on weed seed germination.

Becuase of their size and small food reserves, nearly all weed seeds require light to germinate. If they didn't require light to start the germination process, the seed could be 1 inch or 100 inches under the soil and it would exhaust it's food reserves before reaching the surface. After a weed seed germinates it must begin photosynthesis fairly quickly or it will die. Turning over the soil may stunt some weeds that have established root systems, but a whole new crop of seeds have just been activated to grow. Weed seeds can remain viable in the soil for years.

The key to success here will be obtaining sterilized soil to put in the raised bed and that includes any compost or organic matter added. Increasing elevation by 10" should by virtue of the depth, exhuast all but the most hardy weeds (nut grass) to reach the top. The advatage of the weed fabric is that it will last several years whereas the cardboard and newspaper will decompose fairly quickly.

I did this exact thing to make a holding bed for my bulbs The bed will stay relaitively weed free the frist growing season however, I can tell you right now, if you have any tree rats in the neighborhood, this will be prime storage area for their winter supply of acrons. The second year you will have Bermida and other weeds show up, not many. The seeds just blow in. By the third year, It will pretty much look like a weedy garden without maintenance.

Even though I believe in a better lawn through the judicious use of chemicals, as far as using Image or Manage in vegetable production is concerned, I am fairly certain that they are not labelled for that. Both of these hebicides remain soil active. Unless the product is labelled for the specific use, even though it works, it should not be used. In this case if these two are labelled for use in food production there would need to be a pre-harvest interval listed-the minimum time between application and harvest.

Lastly a 3'X5'X10" raised bed will require you to haul in 12.5 cubic feet of soil. The next time your ar HD or Lowes, check out how much soil is in a bag and the weight os the bag and then decided if you or your SO will want to haul that around the house to the backyard.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 9:36AM
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