The Q&A Archives: stopping weeds/growing potoatoes

Question: Hello there,

I am wondering how to stop my neighbors weeds from coming on my side of the property. I've tried asking them to do something and they refuse. I am hoping to use this area next year to try and grow potatoes?

thank you for your assistance,

Mary Beth Parschen

Answer: I share your frusration. I, too, have an inconsiderate neighbor! If the area is fenced, you can place a physical barrier in the ground on your side of the fence to keep invasive roots on their own side of the property. If it is not a fenced area, you can place a barrier and then either pour a concrete mowing strip or place a line of bricks or blocks on your side of the property line to keep creeping weeds from creeping over to your property. I have used several different materials as barriers and find that the least expensive and easiest to install are the corrigated fiberglass or galvinized metal sheets that are used for patio roofs. They typically come in 8' lengths and are 18-24" wide. I dig a deep, narrow trench and set the panels in the ground sideways so they provide a solid barrier to creeping roots. You might want to give this method a try, too.

If all else fails, you can grow your potatoes above ground. Use hardware cloth or chicken wire to make a 3' wide cylinder. Set it 4-5" below soil level to help hold it in place, then plant your potatoes directly in the soil. As the tops grow, add straw to the cylinder. Keep doing this as the plants grow so that you only have 6" stems with leaves showing throughout the growing season. The potatoes will form at the ends of the roots that you've been burying all summer long and when it is time to harvest, all you need to do is brush the straw away and pick up the spuds. Not only will they be clean and dry, they will also be larger than any that might have developed underground in the soil.

Best wishes with your garden!

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