The Battle of the Garden Weeds

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If you are a new gardener or an experienced one, you’re aware of the great battle of the grass and garden weeds vs. you. The battle is real and here is how we’re dealing with it. 

 

The Battle of the Garden Weeds

We are enlarging and reclaiming some of our garden, which we haven’t used in a couple of years. I know we should have planted it in buckwheat, and we did some of it, but with being gone from the farm most of a year and a half, we just had to prioritize. The garden plot was dropped. Now, the war is on! 

You know from earlier posts we’ve mulched a part of the garden with 2-3″ of yard materials: leaves, grass, pine straw. This section is doing really well. However, the rest of the garden (actually the majority of it) is our battlefield.

The Battle of the Garden Weeds

I’ve decided to not pursue the grass with all-out force. Instead, I have decided to focus on weeds.  
We have five main weed types that we are pursuing eradication of:
  • morning glory
  • thistle (of some kind)
  • balloon plant (also called Love Puff – ain’t nothing to love about it)
  • carpetweed 
  • red sorrel 

Since we use organic farming practices, my current method of weeding is my two hands and a hoe. My husband put a nice sharp edge on all three edges of my hoe. I read about sharpening the three edges in an article by an Amish farmer.

I must say, with a hand slap to the forehead, “I should have thought of that!”  You would not believe the “edge” it gives you in hoeing (pun intended) when the sides of your hoe are sharpened too. This fall/winter I will put the chickens into the garden to bat clean-up and this will help with the eradication and fertilization.

Using Cover Crops

The other thing we are doing is cover cropping with buckwheat. We are in the Deep South and so we have a nice long growing season. This leaves us with lots of room for trial and error.  We can replant or redo something we tried and failed at with usual success due to the long season. We lost our first tomato planting due to the heavy spring rains, but we were able to replant and all is well. This also gives the grass and weeds a long time to regroup and try a new frontal attack. The buckwheat is up and blooming now so we will till it all under and replant, thicker this time. The first round was not as dense as it needed to be to kill most of the grass and weeds. We have had success with this in the past so will continue with this phase of the battle plan.

Future Plans

Our 3-year goal for the garden is to have the whole thing mulched, have permanent walk-ways so we can avoid soil compaction, and have the space doubled by planting the new plot in buckwheat next spring. This will give us two years of cover cropping with buckwheat to kill grass, weeds, and to enrich the soil. Ambitious, I know, but achievable; with my husband’s muscles and some good equipment.
 
So for now, I walk the potatoes, sweet potatoes (before they got big enough to choke things out themselves) okra, beans, peas, all squashes, watermelons,…you get the idea, and pull or hoe up the weeds before they can go to seed. I have conceded the battle to the grass this year. I do hoe at  it, but it is not my main target.
Next year I will focus on it, but for now, I am happy to report we are winning the battle with the weeds! Fewer and fewer are emerging and not one has been able to slip past the blooming stage and put out seeds! Yay! Only a gardener can understand the joy and excitement in that.
 
 
 
What are your strategies with weeds and grass? How about your goals? I look forward to hearing from you by comment or email.
 
Safe and Happy Journey
 
 
 
 
 
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6 Comments

  • 5 Tips For Dealing With Volunteer Plants ~

    […] The Battle of the Weeds […]

    August 19, 2015 at 9:07 am Reply
  • Jenny

    You might enjoy reading an article on An Oregon Cottage website. She had horrible weeds and found a great, chemical-free way to deal with them. In mid-to late winter she places black plastic over each planting bed (she saves and reuses for multiple years). Weights it down with rocks, branches, boards, anything heavy enough. Then closer to planting time she removes it and just rakes away the dead weed debris, puts a layer of compost and plants. I may have missed something, so you may want to read her whole article. I hope this is helpful.

    January 6, 2018 at 5:43 am Reply
    • Amber

      Thank you so much, I will certainly look at her website. Plastic covers do a great job at weed control as well as cardboard. Cover crops to help add nutrients to the soil that the garden depletes, you just need to remember to get to them before they go to seed. But if you have chickens you rotate, they normally do a good job at helping you with that.

      January 6, 2018 at 6:25 am Reply
  • Jenny

    Unfortunately I do not have chickens. I would love to have some,but we live in suburbs and our city has ordinance against them. Plus, I haven’t convinced my husband yet. πŸ™

    January 6, 2018 at 4:24 pm Reply
    • Amber

      haha, I’ve been there. Fortunately for me my hubby doesn’t always pay close attention when I talk and often replies with ‘uh huh’ . It was then that I wiggled in the chicken question. Suffice to say, he now pays better attention- πŸ™‚

      January 7, 2018 at 9:31 am Reply
  • Jenny

    Ha, ha,ha! πŸ˜†

    January 7, 2018 at 3:03 pm Reply
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