Thinking of planting a garden weed control question

   / Thinking of planting a garden weed control question #12  
Leaves that have been shredded going through a either a lawn vac or mower bagger tend to compact together pretty well. Grass clippings that have been allowed to decompose are also good.
   / Thinking of planting a garden weed control question #13  
Just make sure that you don't use clippings from a lawn which has been treated for weeds.

Newspaper or any other paper medium will rot down very quickly. The OP's idea is as good as any, although I don't know of any weed cover sold which is also biodegradable. For a few years I used a piece of black plastic as SR suggests. You will be surprised at how much warmer the soil gets under that. One year my tomatoes got blight (As did everybody elses). I pulled the plants, rolled them up in the plastic and hauled it all off.
Don't use clear plastic, it acts just like a greenhouse and the weeds will thrive under it.

This year I am either planting annual rye in my rows and mowing it, or putting sawmill slabs down to keep the weeds out.
   / Thinking of planting a garden weed control question #14  
How do you keep the leaves from blowing away?
I gather them in the Fall, and usually a couple good rains and most stay in place in the pile. Last Fall we had a dry spell and some high winds, so I set a lawn sprinkler on top of the pile for an hour or so. That's the first time I had to so that in the 10-12 years I've been doing it. You'll lose a few, but not many. Fall rains here settle them down. Come Spring they are pretty damp and stay in place. Again you may lose a few, but not enough to notice. A couple good soaking rains mats them down, and pretty well locks them together. The key is to put them down 4" to 6" deep. Makes it nice after summer rains when tomatoes are needing sprayed, or ripe, and you can walk on the mat without sinking to your ankles in mud.

This is probably the best picture of how well it works from Aug. 2017. Plants were set out late due to a wet Spring and had lots of rain throughout the Summer. I did get a few days to mulch, cage, then do a Florida weave around the cages to hold them up. The Celebrities I plant are very heavy producer's and will even break down the heavy duty cages. These were way behind compared to a normal year and were just starting to bloom. With all of the rain we had that Summer I'm sure weeds would have been very difficult to control.

2019 was the last year I got a lot of leaves from the neighbor with the lawn service. Almost had enough to cover the whole garden. His wife saw how well it worked, and how it mellowed the soil, so she gets the bulk of them now. Gotta' keep Momma' happy. So, I gather what I can from the other neighbor's and one I let use the leaf vac to pick his up, and he brings them down. He's just happy to get rid of them.


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   / Thinking of planting a garden weed control question #15  
There is another good way to control most weeds without mulching but only lasts for 6-8 weeks, but you can reapply when weeds start showing again. If you have a feed mill in the area that grinds cattle feed, most have corn gluten pellets, a by-product of processed corn for ethanol. I have a local mill that will run the pellets through their hammer mill and grind it into meal. Corn gluten pellets have in the past ran around $200 per ton, and I would normally get 500 lbs., and they would charge $5 to grind.

It's the very same as Organic Preen. You can find it on the internet if you've never heard of it. If you look at the ingredient list in the bottom corner, it states 100% corn gluten meal. Preen Natural Vegetable Garden Weed Preventer Open this link to see it. At a store in a 25 lb. bag it will run you around $1.50 per lb. Having a feed mill the grind pellets into meal you'd have around 12 cents a lb.

It does need to be worked into the top 1-1/2" of soil, and needs rain, or a good watering to activate it. You'll need to cultivate around plants until they get good roots established. So you cannot treat when you plant your garden seeds. The way it works is, it will let a seed germinate, but not form roots, and the weeds die. So it is a post plant natural herbicide. And it only kills weeds that come up from seeds not from rhizomes. The only common weeds it won't kill here are Purslane, and Bull Pea vines, because they come up from rhizomes/established roots. Corn Gluten Meal also has about 10% Nitrogen content so it helps boost plant growth too.

I'll have to wait and see how far the leaves I have will go this far, before I decide if I'm going to use any. It is a little work intensive to put down, much like the leaf mulch, but worth the weekly work it saves.


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   / Thinking of planting a garden weed control question #16  
I had an unopened jug of the organic Preen in my shed. The squirrels or raccoons loved it, I found the empty container about 100 yards away with a hole chewed through it.
   / Thinking of planting a garden weed control question
  • Thread Starter
I had an unopened jug of the organic Preen in my shed. The squirrels or raccoons loved it, I found the empty container about 100 yards away with a hole chewed through it.
I would say the racoons are what took took the jug
   / Thinking of planting a garden weed control question #18  
Here's a little follow up on my Rye mulch for weed prevention. I sowed it on last September in a small area approx. 40' X 85-90' long. where I planned to set Cucumber, and winter squash this year. I built a knock down bar for one of my old Wheel Horse's, and used a very heavy lawn roller my Dad built back in the 80's.

With the cool Spring, and a lack of rain I was about 2 weeks behind getting it crimped/rolled down waiting for the Rye seeds in the head to get to the dough stage. In fact so much of a lack of rain many seed heads didn't even form seeds. Maybe due to lack of rain, or because I sowed the Rye 10X-12X or more of the recommended rate per acre. I sowed 40 lbs. on here but wanted to make sure it was heavy enough to do what I wanted. And just using a pull type lawn spreader, and disk to incorporate the Rye seed, knew it probably wouldn't be a 100% germination rate.

None the less I'm pretty well satisfied it's working pretty decent. 3rd & 4th pics are from last week when plants had been set in it for a week. Last pic is from last night. Looks like a few sprigs of Red sorrel coming up but will be easy to eliminate by pulling up before it goes to seed. I've got a couple bales of straw a buddy gave me he had left over after reseeding part of his lawn. I plan to run it through the shredder first chance I get into finer mulch to put up close around the plants.

I'll just have to see how it works over the rest of the Summer. There is an area to the left that there is enough room to set some late crop cabbage in to see how that works. Rye seed was pretty inexpensive even though I way over seeded. Well worth the $20 in seed. Knockdown bar is salvaged tubing from conduit reels that comes in handy for builds like this, and a couple bucks for a cutoff wheel, and welding wire and gas for the welder. Now that I see how well it works I can give the knockdown bar a well deserved coat of paint. Using the Wheel Horse's "Quick-Tach" mower mount, and pre-drilled holes in the tractor frame for mounting other implements, I can have it on & off in just a minute or so.

Now to train the plants to grow on the trellis. If the vines stay up out off the ground, any weeds that may come up I can pull/cut them off. If there are a lot, I can run the mower between rows to keep them down. I figureany of those options has to be better than using a hoe for countless hours, plus the benefit of organic matter to be plowed down next Spring.


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   / Thinking of planting a garden weed control question #19  
Probably won't help for this year, but I use leaves 4"-5" thick as a mulch. Great for weed suppression, and by next year will be broken down into compost to turn under and build organic matter. Retains moisture, yet sheds heavy rains. Redworms and nightcrawlers will feed on them over the summer providing a constant supply worm castings for a great organic fertilizer.

I bought a near new leaf vac at a consignment auction for $140.00, and use it to gather the neighbors leaves, plus have a neighbor who runs a lawn service who picks up leaves in the Fall. I used to get 8-10, 18' tandem trailer w/6' sides, until his wife saw how well it works, and now she gets the majority of them.

Some small towns used to do leaf pickup, some still do. Some use a hay baler, and some just use a Vacon a dump truck, and dump at their facility, and some will haul to farm fields, or someplace close to get rid of them. Just have to really watch when getting from an intown source for syringes in the leaves.
This is also what I do. The first time I gardened in this area I would lay out 2-3in thick layer of leaves and mulch them with my lawn mower. I did this over and over until I got a 4in thick layer of mulched up leaves. The following year I started raised beds and the walkway soil got put into the beds. Cardboard and wood chips in the pathways now. After about 2yrs the walkway soil can be put into the beds.

My local town has leaf pickup in the fall and people bag up there leaves. I just go around with a utility trailer and pick them up. Its actualy alot easier than raking and moving my own leaves.

The first year I put 120 leaf bags mulched into a 25x25 area. The next year I did 70 bags.
   / Thinking of planting a garden weed control question #20  
I have a low spot I dump leaves in that's about 5ft deep now. I put pumpkin seeds in and they grow like crazy.