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SFG weed control

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SFG weed control

Post  has55 on 6/28/2015, 10:40 am

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Re: SFG weed control

Post  CapeCoddess on 6/28/2015, 10:59 am

has55, would you please post the links to your videos? I'm using a browser tablet combination that doesn't seem to play well with this forum.

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Re: SFG weed control

Post  Razed Bed on 6/28/2015, 11:01 am

This video makes it look so easy, but it has never been easy for us.  We side dress with compost, and sometimes shredded newspaper, and it never seems to choke out the weeds.  Just this morning, we had to pull Asiatic Day Flowers out from between the beans, just where the bean patch had been side dressed last week. 

There is this new weed that smells sour when you pull it, and it looks like miniature white ornaments on top of a Christmas tree.  These were not there 10 days ago when we last pulled weeds out of the zucchini and winter squash squares.

Even our containers filled with weeds this week. It's nice that a couple dandelions sprouted in pots that had bolting greens in them, as we will keep them.  However, all our pickling cucumbers had some form of weed in their containers (and a half-sized Bartlett Pear no doubt buried by a squirrel).

There is also a limit to the amount of side dressing you can apply.  You cannot cover the plant to where it will not properly absorb water to its roots, especially in drought conditions.  It's one of those good news/bad news things.  Good news is that you can feed your veggies and provide some protection from the heat with a chance to retain moisture.  Bad news is that you can also keep that moisture from working its way down to the roots, which makes the roots begin to bend toward the surface trying to get to that moisture.

One year, we used a weed cloth, but it only worked for about 6 weeks.  The weeds broke through, while the plants did not get enough water.

I had been ruminating about how to find a better way to keep the weeds out.  Since the garden still thrives even when the weeds become to populated to possibly keep out, what if you just planted the squares to the point where there is no room left for the weeds?  For instance, in our lettuce squares, just plant them all over the square until you have 20 little leaf lettuces growing (4 per SF plus 16 extra as the "weeds").

So, this is what I did as an experiment last month.  I took one of our 2 foot long window planter boxes and filled it with Mel's Mix and Azomite, and then watered it with our compost tea.

I planted a Mesclun mix in it that I normally use to make microgreens indoors.  I didn't count how many seeds I put in the 2 foot by 8 inch box, but it had to be about 40-50 seeds.

I also don't know how many germinated and grew, but suffice it to say, you cannot see any Mel's Mix from a foot above the planter box.  There isn't a weed in the box today, and the lettuce is dwarfed but still is edible miniature lettuce that tastes great in salads, green smoothies, and as munchies when we are working outside.  As an added benefit, the Mel's Mix stays moist longer, as no sun can get through.

This box now sits on the outside sill in our kitchen window, and the only problem is that I want to go out and pick leaves every time I approach the kitchen sink.

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Re: SFG weed control

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/28/2015, 11:22 am

I've found a thick layer of straw on top of the beds can be a huge help. The straw forms a canopy that's a tight net that the weeds have to really fight to get through. And you can make as wide or tight a hole around the plants you're trying to grow as you like. Any mulch helps retain moisture, too.

I did that with my strawberries and cucumbers last year and got no weeds in an area that usually has plenty.
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Re: SFG weed control

Post  BeckieSueDalton on 6/28/2015, 1:24 pm

Would undyed denim or canvas work as weed cloth, laying it over the soil and making a very small 'X' cut for my seedling?  

I don't want to use any of the landscaping fabrics offered at my local Lowes or Home Depot because they're not natural materials.  If I use denim or canvas, the cloth would break down over time which would be ok as it's just cotton, and if I wait for a sale weekend at Joann, I can get the fabric for 60% off.
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Re: SFG weed control

Post  yolos on 6/28/2015, 2:22 pm

@Marc Iverson wrote:I've found a thick layer of straw on top of the beds can be a huge help.  The straw forms a canopy that's a tight net that the weeds have to really fight to get through.  And you can make as wide or tight a hole around the plants you're trying to grow as you like.  Any mulch helps retain moisture, too.  

I did that with my strawberries and cucumbers last year and got no weeds in an area that usually has plenty.

But it is also hard to water through the straw and get the water to the roots.  That is what I am encountering this year.  Next year, drip or soaker hoses under the straw should work.
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Re: SFG weed control

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/28/2015, 3:10 pm

Around here, we get so hot and dry that I welcome the straw soaking up some moisture that doesn't make it directly to the plant. I also like it soaking up as much morning dew as possible.

I tend to leave a small space around the plant itself to discourage the plant from sending roots out into the straw, and to act as a bit of a funnel for the water. It worked well for me, but I agree that drip or soaker hoses would be wonderful, and having them under the straw would be wonderful to help minimize water loss due to evaporation.
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Re: SFG weed control

Post  CapeCoddess on 6/28/2015, 4:01 pm

@BeckieSueDalton wrote:Would undyed denim or canvas work as weed cloth, laying it over the soil and making a very small 'X' cut for my seedling?  

I don't want to use any of the landscaping fabrics offered at my local Lowes or Home Depot because they're not natural materials.  If I use denim or canvas, the cloth would break down over time which would be ok as it's just cotton, and if I wait for a sale weekend at Joann, I can get the fabric for 60% off.
I like that idea very much. But how would you get water through the canvas? Lift it? I used pine needles and grass clippings. And like Razed Bed mentioned, some of my squares are so tightly planted that they don't need anything. Under my boxes I use cardboard. Maybe that's something you could use in place of canvas if you're looking for free and natural.

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Re: SFG weed control

Post  boffer on 6/28/2015, 4:35 pm

[quote="BeckieSueDalton"]Would undyed denim or canvas work as weed cloth, laying it over the soil and making a very small 'X' cut for my seedling? .../quote]

In my climate, I've been able to get away with using black plastic as mulch, because most of the time I need whatever extra heat it helps provide.

Not a natural product, but some watering issues are similar.  I make the X for the seedlings, but when the plant gets big, like squash, it's hard to find the X to water in.  I tried traditional soaker hoses one year, and that worked pretty good.  This year, I sunk old 2 gallon plastic pots into the soil, spaced out.  The holes in the pot allow deeper watering, and to a point they work similar to how ollas work, that were talked about in another thread recently.  I still think they're a good idea, but they're not working as expected because a mole highway has shown up that runs along my pots!  A lot of the water ends up disappearing down the highway.

Your natural materials may allow enough water to soak through from the top.  Or,  you could cut some small slices in the material to let more water through.
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Re: SFG weed control

Post  plantoid on 6/28/2015, 5:40 pm

One way of keeping weeds down around each of the slower growing larger plants and by consequence a lot of each square foot is to cut roundels out of thick solid ( not corrugated )card board or thick pond liner etc using a marker pen & a CD as the size guide some folks may knbow these roundels as cabbaqe plant collars 0r cuffs.
Once the outer size round is cut out fold them into 1/4 segments and snip off the tip to make the center hole , then cut from the edge to the centre for the access /removal slot from the plant
You can then water as you like for it will run off the edges of the roundel and still get to the roots .
Once you can easily identify and work around the plants you can take out the weeds with ease.
 I have oveer 150 such roundels I made five years ago that I still occasionally use on my cabbages , sprouts , swedes parsnips and celery etc.till they get big enough to shade out the weeds .
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Re: SFG weed control

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