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My Lessons After 1st Year - Winterizing with Weedkiller?

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My Lessons After 1st Year - Winterizing with Weedkiller?

Post  moldeen85 on 11/21/2012, 11:25 am

I know many of you are very green gardeners, so maybe this is the wrong place to ask, but I need help as a newbie.

When I planted my bran new SFG last spring, I used wire mesh and weed block (the black roll of very thin, breathable plastic) under all of my boxes. Sad I only dug up the sod under one box and realized I was digging up way too much to make it worth my while.

My fresh garden... grass getting started fast.

My garden growing strong.

Very quickly into the season the grass around all my boxes, within my fenced in area was growing happy as ever. Grass was so tall it was hanging over my boxes. My family was mowing and happily shooting all fresh grass clippings through my fence into my Mel's Mix. Evil or Very Mad And before I knew it I had grass all through my boxes and fenced off area. It was a nightmare of sorts. No

So I was hand clipping and weed eating around my boxes, but I was spending more time doing that than I wanted to. Less time focussing on keeping my soil cleaned out. Sadly I believe Cucumber bugs, flea beetles, and worst of all, cucumber beetles Mad attacked and attacked until they had poisoned my plants with some wilting viruses. And my watering was too speratic and created some end rot, too.

Holes all through my broc and cauliflower.

My archnemisis (sp?), the cucumber beetle took to every cucubit plant in my garden.

My cucumbers never produced much and seemed to be wilting almost as soon as they started growing.

I've learned a few valuable lessons this first SFG season:

  • I need to put a large flooring scheme down across my entire fenced SFG area, both under my raised box beds and not to prevent grass and weeds. I am planning to use a few layers of cardboard boxes. Any additional suggestions?
  • I need to organize my boxes in a manner that makes them easier to attend to and manuever around. I'm thinking two straight lines. I let my step son convince me to make them "pretty" last year.
  • Vertical growing is a lot harder to do than I had planned. Rolling Eyes I will have to investigate buying vining versions of most plants.
  • Create a regular feeding schedule and buy a timer to enforce.
  • I will be very very very proactive about getting rid of all those pests. Lady bugs and worms ONLY in my garden please! Seven, neem, beer in pans, japeneze beetle traps and lots of nightly hand pickings.

So, I am praying and hoping upon hopes to start off next season so much better. Hoping that these few lessons help a ton. What a Face My main question comes as I am trying to get my soil ready for winter. I have tons of weeds and grass in my boxes along with very dead crops. We are having frosts in the mornings, and soon we will have snow. I was considering pulling all the weeds and such and then combining all my mel's mix back on a tarp. This will allow me to move my boxes around, add my new garden area flooring, and add my new compost per the MM instructions.

I'm wondering if it would be a good idea to use weedkiller on the soil too? I want to make sure everything is dead. I don't want grass or weeds starting off before I even get to growing. No But I don't want this to kill my new plants or make it difficult for them to take root next season, either. I figure, I chose this growing method to avoid weeding constantly. And I'm likely to give up if it starts before my veggies do next spring.

Has anyone ever encountered the weeds and grass issue? How did you solve? Did you winterize? What do others do with their boxes over the winter months? I also got plastic to cover my boxes with.

Thank you so much for reading and any input you may be able to offer. Happy holidays everyone!! [img][/img][url][/url]

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Re: My Lessons After 1st Year - Winterizing with Weedkiller?

Post  plantoid on 11/21/2012, 11:38 am

A few years agoI used Round-up on my earth filled raised beds to knock out a massive invasion couch grass which has zillions of growth nodules to grow from.
It can split concrete and makes gardening a real PIA .
But it is only effective on new growth of spring or just after it cools down for late autumn .
The Round -up only needs to be on for about seven days and put on during a eight or nine hour dry period after three weeks you should be able to turn the dead stuff in to the bed and start growing but you will still have a few dormaqnt weed seeds that were sub surface emerging .

You can try snipping them off or dabbing them in several places with a 1/2 inch dia soft squirrel haired artists brush loaded with Round- up

Lots of folks use the weed block material sheets in double thicknesses and extend it well past the edges of the beds some even use in in the walk ways and use chipped bark etc as a dry coarse mulch on top of it to infill the path ways .

Occasionally some poeple have used old carpet strips & card board inthe walk way with or without the weed block but it does have the problem of being slightly toxic and it ( carpet ) never really fully breaks down but it does come apart and make for a tripping hazard.
Cardboard becomes slippery / slimy when wet and starting to decay as well as often having fungicides , insecticides and fire resistance chemicals impregnated in it .

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Re: My Lessons After 1st Year - Winterizing with Weedkiller?

Post  llama momma on 11/21/2012, 1:18 pm

If you can spare any shingles I have placed those just under the edge around the bed. A riding mower can still get a perfect close cut without banging into the wood. It can be covered with mulch,etc. if you don't like the shingle look. I have also put 2 layers of flakes of old straw and hay around the beds late winter/early spring. It can be a very bumpy walk until it breaks down, but once flattened out it proved to be an excellent weed supressant/edging material too.

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Re: My Lessons After 1st Year - Winterizing with Weedkiller?

Post  yolos on 11/21/2012, 1:48 pm

Start by mowing the grass down to ground level. As little grass or weeds sticking out of the ground as possible.

For the actual raised beds, I put about 2 layers of cardboard down inside my boxes. I let the cardboard stick out about 2-4 inches outside the boxes. This will prevent any weeds from coming up from the bottom of the boxes into the soil.

For the walkways, I put down about 6 layers of newspaper and then covered that with about 2 inches of wheat straw in order to hide the newspaper. Some of the wheat straw seeds did germinate in the cool weather (but died when it got hot) so I think next time I would use shredded leaves instead of the wheat straw (or some other type of mulch).

If weed seeds blow in from outside, neither of these two methods will keep all the weeds out. They should be easy to pull out if they germinate in the aisles because the roots will not penetrate down into the newspaper until the newspaper breaks down in a year or two. Fot the beds, heavily mulching will help keep the weeds and seeds from germinating and easier to pull out if they do germinate.

Weed killer (round-up) is only effective if the weeds are actively growing. I am not sure I would use that on the soil where I am actually growing the vegetables though. Do a google search for "soil solarization". In hot weather, spread the soil out, moisten, and cover with a thin layer of plastic for about 6 weeks. The heat under the plastic should kill the seeds and weeds and any soil pathogens. But who wants to take the garden out of service for that amount of time in the middle of the summer.

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Re: My Lessons After 1st Year - Winterizing with Weedkiller?

Post  camprn on 11/21/2012, 2:22 pm

I use the garden edger around my boxes 2 x a year and then weed whack when the grass leaves get tall (4-6") the grass leaf is not going to make new weeds grow in the garden, only seed will do that and that is why I trim the grass, so it cannot go to seed.

Mostly the grass between my beds is kept short by foot traffic. But sometimes I run the mower through there

Sevin will KILL EVERYTHING.

____________________________

40 years a gardener and going strong with SFG.
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-weeks-until-frost

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: My Lessons After 1st Year - Winterizing with Weedkiller?

Post  mollyhespra on 11/22/2012, 11:50 am

moldeen85, my solution to the grass issue between the beds was to lay down several layers of cardboard and then put chipped wood down on top of that. Weeds are pernicious and even with all the care, some still managed to get through. I hand-pulled those. Next year come Spring I'll probably pull back some of the mulch & lay down some more cardboard in those areas where the weeds seemed most pestiferous, then I'll put the mulch back.

You've got a great list of how to do things differently next year & I might add another: consider just focusing on half of those beds for growing things and see how much energy & time it takes to keep up with all the chores to your best effort in just half of those beds. You can solarize the other half or plant a cover crop to help improve the soil even further.

Personally, I would never use Sevin or Round-Up or any herbicide (no matter how much it may claim to only target "one" kind of weed) in a bed where I plan to grow things for food. It just doesn't make sense to me.

I'm totally with you on the idea of re-organizing your beds so that they're easier to navigate, especially if you do as Camp said & just mow enough to prevent the weeds from going to seed.

I've also run into the grass-clippings-from-the-mower-getting-thrown-into-the-beds problem before and the solution to that was an easy one: ask anyone in the family who mows to look at where the clippings come out of the mower and make sure that end is pointing away from my beds. It took a few times to remember, but soon enough I had no more grass clippings. Then we did away with the gas mower & got a push mower, which really solved the problem, since the clippings just fall behind the mower & basically just stay in place.

Anyway, I hope my input is helpful to you. Please, just have a "go" at it without using herbicides. Weeds happen. They just do. Even if you're successful at poisoning the sprouting weeds at the surface, plenty more seeds will get blown in from the wind or pooped on from birds, etc. I don't think that any of our MM can ever be totally weed-free once it's out in the yard getting exposed to things.

Good luck & keep us posted!


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Re: My Lessons After 1st Year - Winterizing with Weedkiller?

Post  moldeen85 on 12/3/2012, 4:14 pm

Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions. I didn't end up using any herbiscides. So all should be right with the world. I like the shingles idea, maybe I can find some on craigslist or something like that. If not, I will be compiling a box pile to throw down.

Definitely looking forward to next year. Wink

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Re: My Lessons After 1st Year - Winterizing with Weedkiller?

Post  CapeCoddess on 12/3/2012, 4:37 pm

@camprn wrote:...weed whack when the grass leaves get tall (4-6") the grass leaf is not going to make new weeds grow in the garden, only seed will do that and that is why I trim the grass, so it cannot go to seed.

Mostly the grass between my beds is kept short by foot traffic. But sometimes I run the mower through there

Sevin will KILL EVERYTHING.

Ditto to all that. Plus I go barefoot all summer so I wouldn't want my tootsies in Roundup or any of that. And then there's my garden helper, Miss Lilly...she doesn't want it on HER tootsies either.

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Re: My Lessons After 1st Year - Winterizing with Weedkiller?

Post  CindiLou on 12/4/2012, 2:40 am

I solved the grass problem rofl even though my hubby is great about NOT mowing into my garden, I got a reel mower! I mow my garden areas and put the cuttings in the tumbler right there.

CC, I think I gots your Miss Lilly's little sister, Moon! She sure looks like Miss Lilly! But Moon is only about 9 wks old. Oh, Moon because my aunt found her as a stray on Trick'r Treat night which was the Samhain full moon. She wasn't more that 4 weeks old! No one wanted to own up to her even though aunty went all over the neighborhood!


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Re: My Lessons After 1st Year - Winterizing with Weedkiller?

Post  Kelejan on 12/4/2012, 7:29 am

One lucky little cat, CindyLou.

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Re: My Lessons After 1st Year - Winterizing with Weedkiller?

Post  CapeCoddess on 12/4/2012, 10:38 am

@CindiLou wrote:
CC, I think I gots your Miss Lilly's little sister, Moon! She sure looks like Miss Lilly! But Moon is only about 9 wks old. Oh, Moon because my aunt found her as a stray on Trick'r Treat night which was the Samhain full moon. She wasn't more that 4 weeks old! No one wanted to own up to her even though aunty went all over the neighborhood!


Oh CindiLou, she's SO BEAUTIFUL! I just can't imagine how anyone would lose her or let her go. Wait til you see how smart she is as she get older! Those flamepoint Siamese are amazing! Another thing I read about Siamese is "you'll never have to go to the bathroom alone again". So true.

CC

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Re: My Lessons After 1st Year - Winterizing with Weedkiller?

Post  camprn on 12/4/2012, 11:56 am

Please try to keep on topic within threads. Thanks

____________________________

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http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t3574-the-end-of-july-7-weeks-until-frost

There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: My Lessons After 1st Year - Winterizing with Weedkiller?

Post  CapeCoddess on 12/4/2012, 12:15 pm

Oh, right....sorry...please delete my last post.
CC

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Re: My Lessons After 1st Year - Winterizing with Weedkiller?

Post  Lemonie on 1/12/2013, 10:09 pm

Ressurecting this thread and back on topic.... Smile
Your first year has so many similarities in lesson's learned from my first year. But, since my boxes have bottoms my grass problem was due to unfinished composted grass. I spent about 2 solid weeks pulling up grass and clover each day and still have to fight off some minor instances at times. But at least the MM is friable enough to make weed pulling easy. But I am still having annoyances of weeds and grass growing between pavers and in spots the mower can't get to. I read somewhere that sprinkling baking soda on the walkways and such twice a year keeps it all at bay. Might try that this year....not sure if anything organic can get rid of the creaping charlie though. Evil or Very Mad

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Re: My Lessons After 1st Year - Winterizing with Weedkiller?

Post  Pollinator on 1/12/2013, 10:52 pm

@moldeen85 wrote:

My cucumbers never produced much and seemed to be wilting almost as soon as they started growing.

Here's your answer to why your cucumbers wouldn't grow.
http://gardensouth.org/2011/07/21/why-are-my-cucumber-falling-off-or-becoming-deformed/

And we can speculate that the reason could well be the Sevin (trademark name, NOT Seven, the number), which is deadly to bees. If this was applied to the cukes while they were blooming (or to any other crop nearby that was in bloom) you may have killed off your pollinators. Also note, in case you hadn't, that the use of Sevin on any blooming crop is illegal. Read the label, under "Environmental Hazards" and you will note that it cannot be used while bees are visiting. Cucumbers in bloom WILL have bees visiting, if they aren't killed by pesticide contamination of the nectar and pollen in the flowers.

Let me propose what has worked for me with my cucumber beetles (and squash bugs as well) - that is dwarf French marigolds interplanted with my veggies. I can go to my neighbors and find lots of these pests - so I know they are in the area - but they aren't in my garden, at least the part that has marigolds.

I have offered free seeds to the members of this forum for a SASE, out of the bounty of my marigolds' seed production. Ten or fifteen capsules will supply all the seed you'll need for another year, and I have thousands of them, so I am giving lots away. Send a personal message to me for my address, if you wish to do this.

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Re: My Lessons After 1st Year - Winterizing with Weedkiller?

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