Problem weeds everywhere!

Discussion in 'Subtropical Climate Only' started by Jacob, Feb 20, 2020.

  1. Jacob

    Jacob Member Premium Member GOLD

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    To preface, I am the new garden coordinator for the UTSA community garden. Since it is a college campus most of the students go home for the winter and summer breaks. This is part of my problem.

    I have an abundance of weeds growing all over the garden. They're in the beds, have overrun our wildflower beds, and are filling up the gravel that was previously laid between the garden beds. I have attached pictures of the garden in its current state to this post.

    The garden committee has decided at this point to weed the whole garden, dig out all the gravel, roll out fabric garden tarp and put the same gravel back on top. The only thing that worries me about this plan is putting the same gravel back down. I'm concerned it's still holding the weed seeds.

    The only thing we are trying to avoid is any kind of herbicide or pesticide. I might be persuaded to consider organic options that don't bioaccumulate. If anyone has any suggestions for a better plan, improvements to this plan or just tips I would greatly appreciate it!

    Many thanks!
    Jacob

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  2. Rachelle

    Rachelle Member Premium Member

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    That's a lot to deal with. As often as the most avid gardener weeds their land, it is an ongoing endeavor. Weed seeds will be blown into your beds and dropped there by wildlife.
    If it was my yard then I'd consider sifting the gravel so that the weed seeds fall through and the gravel doesn't.
    Going forward, could you open the garden up to the public during the summertime so people are still working it and keeping it as weed free as possible. During the winter you can put tarps over any empty beds beds to keep weed seeds out. You could put hoop tunnels over still occupied beds to help keep out weeds and protect wanted plants.
     
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  3. Jacob

    Jacob Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks for the advice!

    The garden is open all year around it's just a matter of there being no one available to tend it as myself and many students leave town for the breaks.

    I had thought about sifting, but we don't currently have one as we are a fairly new garden and have a very small budget. However, I think that may just be one of the best option.
     
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  4. GKW

    GKW Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    As noted by others, if the beds aren't in use, cover with some black plastic to kill off / prevent weed growth.

    Re the pathways, at the end of the college session before the free help goes on holiday, why not pick up the larger weeds and then lay down some black plastic to kill off the weeds. When you come back, remove plastic or even leave it and lay down a couple of inches of pine bark (other other wood chip) over the gravel. Would save on sifting the gravel and would help with some moisture retention in soil surrounding the beds. Will / should also help in keep the weeds at bay. Wood chip is cheap and you might get some black plastic for free is you ask your local big box hardware store to help out....same with the chip..Good luck.
     
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  5. Jacob

    Jacob Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Fantastic ideas! Thank you! I was completely stuck in a now solution and wasn't even thinking of a long term one. Another perspective really does shed a whole 'nother kind of light on ths subject.

    Thanks a ton m8!
     
  6. Wanda

    Wanda Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I put cardboard boxes (remove the tape as it doesn’t break down) over everything and cover them with oak leaves or mulch from the New Braunsfels recycling center, it’s free.(www.co.comal.tx.us) You can get a load for a pickup bed or even a trailer. They have to be covered with a tarp when you leave the yard.

    Black plastic doesn’t last long in TX due to the extreme heat. It starts to deteriorate and then you have plastic blowing everywhere. Same goes for tarps. A professional landscapers ground covering does well but is pretty pricey.

    Just dedicating one day a week to pick weeds can really make a difference. You need to pull the weeds BEFORE they flower and go to seed in order to keep new ones from growing. Disturbing the ground by sifting the rocks will bring dormant seeds up above the gravel to sprout and grow. Boiling water kills weeds and ant hills. A propane torch does good killing weeds and their roots.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2020
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  7. Jacob

    Jacob Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I'm hoping there some local arborists that would like to drop their wood chips at the garden for us. That would truly be a blessing
     
  8. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi Jacob, your last idea of using arborist chips is very good.
    Saves on energy and uses a free product.
    If you pull the bigger weeds, put them in a drum of water and make weed tea.
    Weeds send their roots deeper than vegies do, so they mine more minerals.
    Treat weeds as a productive member of your cycle of life in your garden rather than a pest.
    Pull them just before they set seed to get the best benefits.
    Cover all the small weeds with the mulch or regularly rake the gravel to disturb the germinating weeds.
     
  9. Mary Playford

    Mary Playford Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Watch Charles Dowding's No Dig videos on Youtube. He makes it easy to deal with weeds.
     
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