Wednesday, July 23, 2014

RAISED BEDS, MULCH AND THE BATTLE OF WEEDS




Oh, so it's going to be like this huh? Little weeds popping up here and there?  Well I can take care of that!




BOOM!  Gone!  Just like that!  That'll teach you!




Whoa, wait, where did YOU both come from?



Sigh, it's going to be a never-ending battle of weeds in the mulch but at least, at this point anyway, it's going to be easy to pull them up...?




Whoa, not so fast.  A few weeks after those first photos, weeds and grass are sprouting up everywhere.



They are coming up almost faster than I can keep up.  Oh wait, did I say "almost" faster?  They are coming up faster than I can keep up.  Sigh.
Weeds in a raised bed
We have always said our blog wouldn't shy away from the missteps either, and here is one of those.

Yeah, it was easy in the beginning but not so much now.  This is one of three raised beds (empty beds, no veggies) that have gotten totally out of control.  Imagine this times three.  Notice there is even some weed block cloth (albeit not enough) on the surface already.  On a daily basis, I'm sure I could keep them at bay, but on a weekend basis, it's just as I said, a never ending battle to keep them out.  We want to stay organic so I don't want to use Round Up, but I'm afraid we might not have any choice.  I've tried vinegar but it's not working.

I'm going to use the bricks I recently gathered up that were scattered around the property and put a covering of some sort on there and see what I can do to eradicate the jungle that is rapidly taking over the beds.  It's my fault for not covering them to begin with but now I have to figure out a solution that will work.  I'm gathering up newspapers from people at work to put down, any suggestions on how to smother the weeds out easily?  


21 comments:

  1. I've always gone for either black plastic or cardboard to smoother weeds. Good luck.

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    1. I'm trying to stock us up on some cardboard and will try that. Thanks!!

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  2. add salt and a bit of dawn to your vinegar. the dawn helps the mix coat the weeds and hang on to them. you have to spray them when it is going to be hot and sunny. my weeds are crazy bad this year!

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    1. Hmm, that's a great idea. And hopefully it won't seep down into the ground and hurt the veggies? I mean I know I have to be careful spraying it on, but I guess it's not systemic...thanks for the tip!!

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  3. When I wanted to add a new garden section ( back when I was young ) I put down newspapers, a lot , about an 1/2inch deep no less then put black plastic ( usually trash bags ) on top and held with rocks/bricks. After one season the ground is weed free. Good luck

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    1. Also stocking up on newspapers as well. Thanks, will see what I can do in the next couple of weekends. :-)

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  4. What Daphne, Jaz & Mary said.

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  5. I've found that some of our weeds love newspaper & cardboard. Come right up through it!

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    1. OH OH! Well, I have to hope ours have different taste buds, HA!

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  6. It looks like the weeds are Bermuda grass and nutgrass (technically a sedge) - typical for SE Texas. The Bermuda can be pulled out by hand or smothered by cardboard or thick layers of newspaper. As for a non-chemical eradication for the nutgrass, good luck! It can even push through plastic and gravel. The pest has underground tubers that interconnect with others - if you pull it out, you have to dig down to get out the tuber and all roots and then follow the connecting fibers to the next one. Keep up the attacks because this stuff spreads. I have found that applying a thick layer of organic mulch helps makes the pulling out process easier. A very thick layer may even prevent them. Last fall, I put a full bag of pine bark mulch around each of my fruit trees to help protect them during the winter and this very thick layer has stopped all weeds. Enriching the soil also helps. I’ve been using the Ladybug brand of organic garden compost for about 10 years and the nutgrass problem in my vegetable garden has really improved.
    Other things I’ve read about but have not tried: Repeated attacks with 20% vinegar should eventually starve the underground tubers. Sugar supposedly can be sifted onto moist soil, then mist again to get the sugar into the ground; this needs repeated attacks. There is something called a flame-weeder that burns the tops, forcing the underground tuber to use more energy and eventually starve with repeated attacks.
    Good luck!

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    1. I've seen the ladybug brand! Cool! I have thought about that weed burner too but I'm afraid I might set my mulch on fire, or burn the fence (I can be somewhat overzealous when working outside int e yard, LOL). You know I have been thinking about mulch around the fruit trees. I thought about a layer of organic compost first and then a bit of mulch on top of that. I think the trees need some 'spa like' treatment like that, ha.

      Thank you!

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  7. I always put the weed block cloth on the bottom of a raised bed, then hardware cloth for those pesky ground squirrels or other burrowing critters. Then fill with dirt. Uh..next time. maybe

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    1. You know, it's funny, I know that from first hand experience that it works so much better. When I put the first beds down, they were just on dirt (on the ground) and then I put the weed block around them. Then when I built the other raised beds, I put them ON the weed block and those beds are virtually weed free. It's the first ones that are getting weedy, ha.

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  8. Weed block cloth, organic weed block paper, mulch of every kind, black plastic, landscape fabric - NOTHING kept my weeds from growing right through the barrier. Until I started "recycling" my feed bags. You may not have an endless supply of feed bags, but those things are incredible. So far, three years, and nothing can get through them. Mind you, I still get weeds that actually grow in the mulch, but they are easily and quickly removed.

    Also, it helps to just hold up your hand to the level of your eye....

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    1. Feed bags? Hmm, like chicken feed? I think 2nd Family has a bunch of those. What are the bags made of plastic? I will definitely have to check that out!!! Thanks for the info!

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  9. Salt will kill the weeds. Just salt them every time and eventually they will not grow back because the soil is sterile. Of course, neither will vegetables. The Dead Sea is dead for a reason. The earth around it is barren, too. Vinegar actually works. I am sure boiling vinegar works better. Boiling water works on weeds.

    Since you have beds that are working for you, why don't you get a tarp and take out all the soil in the garden box. Then, you can pull weeks from it and start all over. Black plastic kills everything for me. You can cover the whole box with black plastic, cut and X where you want a plant, pop the plant in and let it grow. weeds might grow in the X, but will be easily pulled and fewer.

    If you start all over with one bed, you will probably spend as much time trying to kill weeds as you will in remedying the problem and pulling weeds.

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    1. I wondered about salt. Thank you, very good advice!!

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  10. Although I feel your pain, please, please, please do not resort to the Round-up. I would pull all those weeds by hand before I did that. If you questioned whether the Dawn would seep down and affect the growing vegetables, then know for sure that the Round-up would totally pollute your garden. Despite Monsanto's "safe" marketing campaign, there are many health issues surrounding that product (and really, what good ever came out of Monsanto?) The glyphosate is possibly "the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies,” according to researchers. Glyphosate causes extreme disruption of microbes’ functions and lifecycles. What’s worse, glyphosate preferentially affects beneficial bacteria, allowing pathogens to overgrow. Okay, sorry Two Men--end of lecture--I just care about your health.

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    1. THANK YOU, I have not researched that before and you've definitely given us pause for thought. I should have been clear that I would not have used roundup inside the garden, just around the fence on the outside BUT, it was a big maybe and now I'm questioning that. You have given me some great stuff to google. Thank you! And comment anytime! ;-)

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  11. I was pulling weeds in June and a little "critter" scared the #crap out of me and now I have weeds all over my back hill. Ugh! Great suggestions! laura

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