The Q&A Archives: weed

Question: I have a garden that has a bad wiregrass or crabgrass or goose grass silver crabgrass problem the grass I have has been called by these names how do I get rid of it my friend said put down newspapers I have vegetables so I can not use weedkiller and the soil hard and rocky and the roots are deep so digging would be too hard I can not use my tiller because of the flowers and vegetables and before I planted I used the tiller the grass came right back I have weeder it dug it level with the ground where you could not see it still comes back before I knew any better I tried weedkiller had to wash weed killer off after I found it was dangerous to my plants please help.

Answer: Kevin,

I am sorry for this delayed reply to your gardening question. The spring rush has brought a deluge of questions and we are working hard to catch up!

Most gardeners would prefer not to use chemical sprays any more than necessary. There are few products labeled for weed control in a home vegetable garden and they can be a bit troublesome to use effectively. As a result, I think the best weed control is the mulch and paper method. Here is how it works:

Begin by wetting the weeds with a sprinkler. This will cause them to lay down a bit and will give the soil a good soaking. If weeds are too tall you may need to use a mower or weedeater to cut them down first. Next lay newspaper about 4 sheets thick. Cover the entire soil surface with paper, overlapping the edges a little and placing the paper right up against the stems of your vegetables, flowers and shrubs to completely shade the surface.

Wet the papers as you lay sections to keep them from blowing away. Next, cover the newspaper with leaves, compost, hay or another aesthetically appealing mulch. Then wait! No plant can live without light. Weeds under the paper will die. In a few months the paper will be decomposed. In the meantime, pull any weeds that peek out of a hole in the paper.

When planting a new area, lay the paper and leaves on the bed and later poke holes for transplants or larger seeds. When smaller seeds are used or a row is planted, you can adjust the procedure by leaving a narrow strip of soil (1 to 2 inches) uncovered for later planting.

Thanks for the question. Best wishes for a wonderful gardening season. Please stop in again soon!

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