jungle of weeds - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 03-04-2005, 10:08 AM
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This is my first post in this forum since I've never been much of a gardner. I'm a homeowner now though and I need to take care of my yard. My bf and his dad helped me clear out a bunch of stuff from the backyard and now it's like having a blank canvas...except for the weeds.



We've had a lot of rain this winter (for Arizona anyway) and a jungle of weeds has sprung up. When it wasn't so bad about a month ago I pulled a bunch and felt very accomplished. A couple of days later they were back 10-fold! Now the yard is literally covered with them--some almost 4-feet high! My bf's dad, who's a retired landscape architect, says if I want to get rid of them I will have to spray the whole yard with a chemical weed killer. Obviously he's not at all environmentally-conscious (he also advised me against organic fertilizers).



I do not want to spray my yard with chemicals. What else can I do? I'd like to start a vegetable and herb garden, but I need to control these weeds first. Help!
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#2 Old 03-04-2005, 01:19 PM
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I'm not much of a gardener, myself, but what's really helped in my weed patch is the "lasagna gardening" idea. You cover your garden plot with several overlapping sheets of newspaper, then pile at least six inches of organic matter on top of that. The organic matter can be compost, dried leaves, manure--whatever you can get in abundance. The idea is that it all composts out while the paper smothers the weeds. The paper eventually dissolves or is eaten by worms. Unless you use really "fresh" manure, you can plant immediately. Instant gratification!



There are some weeds that aren't daunted by this. (grumble growl quackgrass, bindweed, grumble snarl) It should give you a head start on the rest, though.



There's a book out that describes the process in more detail ("Lasagna Gardening" by Patricia Lanza), but I'd recommend getting it from the library as there isn't much more to it.



After your plants are established, the best thing to do is mulch, mulch, mulch. And never till the soil. Keep the weed seeds from seeing the sun.



Good luck!
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#3 Old 03-04-2005, 01:50 PM
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That's really good advice, curiousity!
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#4 Old 03-04-2005, 03:57 PM
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It will be frustrating at first (I'm getting back into gardening- I feel your pain), but try not to let the weeds go to seed. Eventually you will prevail.



My community garden recommends that "lasagna garden" approach, too.



And it sounds wierd... but some weeds are edible. Just MAKE SURE you know what they are, and that they haven't been sprayed or contaminated with anything nasty. I garden in the Northeast, and my favorite weeds for eating are really easy to recognize: dandelion, purslane, lamb's-quarters. I don't know if any weeds in Arizona are both (a) edible, and (b) easy to distinguish from anything that might make you sick.



(Tom goes off Googling the search phrases [+"crabgrass" +"recipe"]... [+"crabgrass" +"bread"]...[+"crabgrass" +"stew"]...[+"crabgrass" +"vegan quiche"]...)

Peasant (1963-1972) and Fluffy (1970s?-1982- I think of you as 'Ambrose' now)- Your spirits outshone some humans I have known. Be happy forever.
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#5 Old 03-04-2005, 08:29 PM
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Another thing about weeds is that, unlike what most folks think, they not only tell you what nutrients are lacking in your soil but they also have the root systems to draw those nutrients up from the subsoil. I just did a search on this (I am still trying to find a particular book that states what weeds tell you what soil deficiencies you have) and found the following excellent informational sites:



Controlling weeds and pests

Weeds, Guardians of the Soil



Both links seem to be for farmers, but the mechanics of the soil and the weeds/plants can be adapted to any size plot. The second link seems to be the complete book/pamphlet but I have found what little I have read so far to be fascinating



Anyway, I hope this helps some, too.
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#6 Old 03-04-2005, 10:01 PM
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good title

that will catch every stoner
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#7 Old 03-07-2005, 09:46 AM
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll try to find that book, curiosity, and I'll check out those websites, kentauros.
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#8 Old 03-08-2005, 12:18 PM
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I'm a new homeowner,as well and the weeds have just gotten really bad in my front, side and backyard. I also have a mole/vole (multiple) and I don't know how to get rid of it/them. I really want to get out more often and I want to have a nice yard. I've never done any type of gardening at all.



There is a deal here where a landscaping service will come out and spray for weeds, do a fertilizer, also do a consult on what's best for your particular yard and make some suggestions. I'm not sure how much it is, but I'm probably going to have them out for the initial visit and treatments but not do the service. I don't think I can afford it.



You can try looking around to see if anyone in your area does stuff like that. Just something to get you started, atleast, and in the right direction.
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#9 Old 04-30-2005, 06:29 AM
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I've given up fighting weeds, except for those very close to our house. I just plant things that will win over them, like bushes, and try and keep an eye on them when they are young.

The cheapest way to get rid of an area of weeds is to cover the soil with an old carpet. I have one ancient bit folded into four which I'm moving along every few months. Not the prettiest sight, but this carpet is so old it has moss growing on top of it.
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#10 Old 05-05-2005, 04:15 PM
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This is what I've done...because we have weeds so bad here. I had every last bit of vegetation ripped up , it was mostly weeds anyhow. The soil was tilled, and I had St. Augustine grass layed. We have had it for 2 years, and not one weed has sprouted up on our grass. I have the grassy area confined to a large patch about 50x50 ft. Around the grassy area I used edging to keep the grass from growing into the flower beds. In the designated flower bed area, I layed a ground covering to smother the weeds, and over that I layed river rock. I also designated areas for vegetation, and planted big bushy, but pretty plants to fill in those area. Doing that has kept the weeds out. I occasionally have a small weed here and there to pluck out of the vegetated areas. I am currently working on the rest of the bare grassless area. It has taken so long because it is so expensive for the river rock ($5 a sq ft)......but I'm doing a rock garden of sorts, with stepping stones. I will be posting pictures once it's all done.



I will admit we have used chemical weed killer a few times, because the weeds have gotten so out of hand. I feel aweful, but it gets SO overwhelming at times. We have a flower bed in the front of our house that is 24 ft. wide, and 10 ft. deep...and it's a 2 tier bed. That thing has gotten so filled with weeds, we just had to do something. We have pulled all of the weeds from that bed before, and it took the two of us a total of 15 hours...hunched over. This last time I just broke down and had my husband spray it with weed killer. We are going to be planting in it real soon, and covering the exposed ground with a cover to keep the weeds away.
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#11 Old 05-11-2005, 01:01 AM
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I used to work for a lawncare company, where I learned that the best way to combat weeds in your lawn is to have it aerated as often as possible, and cut it often and not too short. Aerating loosens the soil and allows the grass to grow in thicker and develop deeper root systems, so it chokes out weeds very effectively when you have it done every spring and fall.



The same type of principle works well in the garden, in my brief experience. I have mixed sand and coffee grounds in with the soil to keep it from compacting as fast, and I've been jamming all sorts of perrenials in. Weeds only come up in the spots where my plant budget ran out. The irish moss seems to be invincible.



So my advice is to get rid of any compacted soil problems by whatever means necessary (aeration/tilling), and pack in whatever plants/lawn you desire so the weeds don't have anywhere to go.
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#12 Old 05-11-2005, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qwerks View Post

I used to work for a lawncare company, where I learned that the best way to combat weeds in your lawn is to have it aerated as often as possible, and cut it often and not too short. Aerating loosens the soil and allows the grass to grow in thicker and develop deeper root systems, so it chokes out weeds very effectively when you have it done every spring and fall.



The same type of principle works well in the garden, in my brief experience. I have mixed sand and coffee grounds in with the soil to keep it from compacting as fast, and I've been jamming all sorts of perrenials in. Weeds only come up in the spots where my plant budget ran out. The irish moss seems to be invincible.



So my advice is to get rid of any compacted soil problems by whatever means necessary (aeration/tilling), and pack in whatever plants/lawn you desire so the weeds don't have anywhere to go.



I'm in the desert, so no grass, no lawn to mow. Just weeds. (Well, there are trees and cactus too, but everything else is weeds.) Should I still till everything? I'd probably need some special machinery to do that, no? I know I first posted this a couple of months ago, but the weeds are still there. They're all dead now, but still there. I had all my grand garden plans, but life got in the way, so no garden. I guess I'll have to try again next year. In the meantime, my bf and I plan to at least remove all the dead weeds this weekend. Any good ideas for how to prep for next year? I'd particularly be interested in advice from anyone who is familiar with desert climates.
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#13 Old 05-13-2005, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eggplant View Post

I'm in the desert...

Oh. My experience is all in clay-type soil. I read up on what some gardeners in Arizona were up to, their suggestions for starting a desert-climate garden:



Loosen the soil to depth of 12, and add compost (home made or other) at least twice a year. I used just a shovel to dig up my clay-it was painful! Maybe there is a good machine you can rent for a weekend?



Water heavily, but not often.



Herbs are better suited to dry and/or rocky soils than veggies or flowers. I think that there are quite a few lovely things that you can grow, but I don't know what they are. People at smaller garden centres are usually extemely helpful for that kind of thing.



Mulch helps protect your plants from the heat and cuts down on weeds. A 2-3" deep layer of wood chips, hay, leaves, etc. will help retain moisture, but keep a little space around your plants because it might cause them to rot a bit if it touches them.



The other thing I saw mentioned was the use of structures to cut down on wind and sun.



That concludes my (second hand) knowledge about desert gardening. Here's a site about desert living that may lead you to something of interest:

http://www.desertusa.com/mag00/mar/stories/gardens.html



Don't forget to post pictures!
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#14 Old 05-24-2005, 10:13 AM
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Sorry this is a little delayed, but thanks!
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