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Garden Weeds

Posted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 9:45 pm
by steven1967
The weeds have taken over my vegetable garden. Is there anything I can do now and before next spring that can help control weeds for next years vegetable garden?

Re: Garden Weeds

Posted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 4:03 pm
by lorijones
The first thing you will have to do is to kill the existing weeds in the garden. Assuming that all the vegetable crops have been harvested, you can accomplish this by spraying glyphosate (something like Roundup or Bonide KleenUp) according to the label directions. This will kill all actively growing vegetation. It may take more than one application. Follow the label instructions for timing of re-application if this is necessary. Fall is a great time to do this because at this time the plants are moving nutrients down to the roots in preparation for the oncoming winter. The herbicide is moved down to the roots with the nutrients and is very effective in killing the weeds. Unfortunately, glyphosate does not kill the weed seeds that may be in the soil waiting to germinate later in the fall (winter weeds like chickweed) or in the spring and since you will be planting seeds for your vegetable crop, you cannot put down a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent these weed seeds from germinating because it will also prevent your vegetable seeds from germinating.

Once you have killed the existing weeds, rake the plant debris out of the garden, put down some good organic matter like compost or composted manure, and spread an organic fertilizer like Espoma Garden-tone at the rate recommended on the label. You can also add rock phosphate and Espoma Greensand according to the label for added organic nutrients. Here is a link to our soil prep recommendations for vegetable gardens: http://www.inthegardenradio.com/v.php?pg=47. I would not add the 10-10-10 to the soil until spring because it will leach out of the soil over the winter. Now is a great time to add these amendments because they will work into the soil over the winter. Till all of this into the soil and then either:
  • 1. Seed a cover crop like winter rye or crimson clover over the whole garden. This will provide nutrients to the soil when it is tilled under in the spring (http://www.inthegardenradio.com/v.php?pg=878). It will also reduce weeds and prevent soil erosion over the winter.
    OR
    2. Cover the garden with a mulch of several layers of newspaper and a layer of straw on top of the newspaper (the newspaper prevents the seeds in the straw from contacting the soil and germinating) or cover it with wide landscape fabric. The advantage of the newspaper and straw is that you can plant through it easily in the spring leaving most of it in place as a mulch; just rake it back to uncover a narrow area for seeding each row and planting your vegetable plants. It is harder to do this with the landscape fabric; landscape fabric usually needs to be removed or folded back.