|I would like to start a cutting flower garden in a very grassy spot. Do you recommend a product like Preen to help stop weeds & weedy grasses in new beds?|
|Although some people like to use a chemical herbicide when preparing beds, I've found I've been able to create new beds without spraying.
Here's what I would do: First, as soon as the snow melts, cover the area with heavy black plastic, securing the edges. Then, as soon as the soil dries out sufficiently, remove the plastic and till the area. (For very grassy areas I use a tiller that you pull behind a lawn tractor--you might be able to find a landscaper in your area that could do it for a reasonable price. It's hard to cut through tough sod with a walk-behind tiller.)
Pull out any large clumps of sod and large rocks. Then cover the entire area with the black plastic again.
After several weeks, remove the plastic and till again--this time you may be able to use a walk-behind tiller. If you have time before planting season, cover the area again with the black plastic.
I like to plant everything--even flowers--in some configuration of rows, so I can heavily mulchbetween rows. I use a very thick (2-3") layer of newspapers, covered with straw, to mulch my rows--it's great at keeping weeds down, and it keeps me from getting muddy feet when I go out to cut my flowers!
Interestingly, there's a new product on the market called WeedzStop. It's made from corn gluten meal, and acts as a pre-emergent herbicide. Remember that it will inhibit the germination of seeds--but will not affect growing seedlings. It might come in handy to sprinkle around your plants once they become established.
Good luck with your new garden--I can almost smell the flowers!