The Q&A Archives: New House/Established Yard

Question: I recently purchased a house w/an established yard. I have a large area of backyard space that is exclusively weeds. I would like to turn this area into a vegetable garden this year. What can I put on the weeds to get rid of them quickly? I would prefer an organic only product. I also noticed a few slugs.

Answer: You can use glyphosate (Round Up) to kill the vegetation or you can simply rototill the area and rake out the grass and roots. Then you'll want to build your soil. You can enrich your soil over a period of years and end up with rich garden loam if you add organic matter. Start this spring by removing all vegetation from the area and spreading 4-5 inches of organic matter over the vegetable bed. You can use compost, aged manure (fresh manure can be too hot and might contain weed seeds), shredded leaves or whatever organic matter is readily available in your local area. Dig or till this organic matter into the soil - 8-10 inches deep. Plant your veggies and mulch over the bare soil between the plants with additional organic matter. A 2-3 inch layer will help suppress weeds and slow water evaporation. At the end of the season dig the organic matter into the soil and add a fresh layer. Repeat this process annually and you'll end up with rich garden loam - and a spectacular vegetable garden. Hope you have a bountiful harvest!

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