weed control without chemicals

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Kristen

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Re: weed control without chemicals
« Reply #30 on: August 29, 2014, 12:57 »
If you are not able/inclined/have time to hand dig and remove the weeds then I think that woven weed suppressing fabric is the answer.  Hand digging will help a lot though :)

I used Glyphosate at the outset to kill the grass where I wanted to make my vegetable plot (and the local farmer ploughed it, and I then rotavated to get it under way).  Glyphosate isn't much use once the crops are planted ... and if you have plenty of weed seed in the ground that's going to germinate through the year and compete with the crops as well as needing your time to hoe/hand weed.

I have 4' wide "beds".  Mine are raised - originally just by digging out the paths and heaping the soil on the "beds" so they were slightly raised (so called "lazy raised beds"), but the lowered paths additionally assisted with drainage [heavy clay here], latterly I have found time & materials to properly frame the beds with timber boards.

I use a 1.5M width roll of Mypex (or similar - needs to be woven and UV stabilised) which neatly fits the bed.  I have one "piece" for each crop - so the "+"-shaped plant slits in it are reusable next season.  Its a bit of a hassle to label and keep all the Mypex crop-sections organised ready for use next year, and it takes longer to plant then just chucking the seeds/plants in the ground ... but then there is no further weeding maintenance for the season - and reduced watering.  I've got a couple of chums who are also recently converted to obsessive Mypex allotmenting!! and we, somewhat subjectively, think we are getting heavier crops.

I put the Black Mypex down as soon as winter is over - i.e. I let the winter into the soil during the winter, or plant Green Manure, but as temperatures rise and weeds start thinking about making a start I cover the beds up.  I expect that the black colour of the Mypex attracts some (maybe best part of not very much though?!!) heat into the soil.

I raise [pretty much all] my vegetables in 9cm pots and plant out. This allows me to do the seed-sowing thing indoors during the evenings in late Winter / early Spring and not have to worry about fine weather coinciding with when I have time available for sowing outdoors.  This also means that when I plant out it has a 6 weeks, or so, head start on anything else in the bed.  Not so much of a benefit with Mypex, but without Mypex that alone used to make a huge difference ... hoe off the bed, plant and the weeds are then 6 weeks behind the plants (compared to sowing a row of seed).

I plant with a bulb planter - which neatly fits my 9cm pots, and is less taxing for my arthritic hands/wrists than a trowel.

However, I've been growing veg for yonks, I plant the exact same (pretty much!) Qty of each veg each year, so my pieces of crop-specific Mypex are easily resuable, for me, year-after-year.  Having said that when I made them originally I allowed a "Bit extra" on the end in case I want to plant a few more plants one year, and if not the extra bit is just bunched up at the end of that section.

The Mypex is held down with some U-shaped clips/staples made from old wire coat-hangers (they are much wider, compared to the length of their "prongs", than a "U" would imply)

My mates are using this for crops like Parsnips, but I think it makes harvesting them difficult so I don't use it for that, or Carrots, and I prefer to earth up my Spuds, but off the top of my head I can't think of anything else that is now NOT grown through Mypex.

Probably some increased slug activity, but slug pellets under the Mypex are not available to birds etc. and hopefully the slugs snuff it under the Mypex too, so the birds don't eat their carcasses

I treat the grass on my paths, between raised beds, with selective weedkiller. I use a basic 2,4-D weedkiller, which doesn't have any persistent chemicals in it like Clopyralid.  My figuring is that if I provide some control of weeds in the surrounding grass then that is less potential seed that will spread into the beds.

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grendel

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Re: weed control without chemicals
« Reply #31 on: August 29, 2014, 13:04 »
I use a rotovator with blunt blades, that generally pulls up weeds and winds them round the blades (I usually have to clear them at the end of each row), once this is done, any area not planted gets a good rotovate every week, then once the plants go in its down to hand weeding as often as possible. hand digging for me is just not an option with the time I have available and the fragility of my back - about a dozen forkfulls puts my back out for weeks. (still recovering from digging for potatoes last weekend).
we do the impossible daily, miracles take a little longer.

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Christine

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Re: weed control without chemicals
« Reply #32 on: August 29, 2014, 19:30 »
I may be getting another plot which is overgrown with thistles and meadowsweet.
Meadow sweet likes damp places - if you take the plot you may have a drainage problem. It's normal home is on the banks of rivers, streams, brooks, ditches. To cure that one you will need to dig deep and incorporate lots of humus - unless you find the source of the damp more easily.

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Nobbie

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Re: weed control without chemicals
« Reply #33 on: August 29, 2014, 19:35 »
I may be getting another plot which is overgrown with thistles and meadowsweet.
Meadow sweet likes damp places - if you take the plot you may have a drainage problem. It's normal home is on the banks of rivers, streams, brooks, ditches. To cure that one you will need to dig deep and incorporate lots of humus - unless you find the source of the damp more easily.

Interesting, the meadowsweet is down to one end away from the path so I will check before taking it on. :)



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