How Do I Best Prepare a New Garden Plot To Eliminate Weeds

Q. “If one were to begin anew – from a previously untilled field covered in an assortment of vegatation: Grasses, broadleaf weads, etc; What is the best course of attack? Kill everything that grown with a short-term herbicide like round-up, then till and proceed from there;

A.  THE HERBICIDES WILL ONLY KILL LIVING TISSUE THEY REACH SYSTEMICALLY WHEN APPLIED TO LIVING LEAVES.  THIS CAN LEAVE MUCH OF THE ROOT SYSTEMS VIABLE.  NEARBY PLANTS CAN ALSO BE DAMAGED OR KILLED.  APPLICATIONS OF 2-4-D TO WEED CEREAL CROPS HAVE TRAVELED A MILE OR MORE ON THE WIND AND KILLED OTHER VALUABLE CROPS, SUCH AS TOMATOES.

Q.  “Should I till the entire plot and fight the good fight with the runner type vegatations like knot grass?

A.  IF YOU HAVE AN INFESTATION OF PERENNIAL WEEDS, YOU SHOULD REMOVE THEM, INCLUDING ROOTS, RHYZOMES, AND RUNNERS.  FAILURE TO DO SO WILL DOOM YOU TO MANY YEARS OF FIGHTING THEM.

Q.  “Should I use some other method, perhaps cover the plot with black plastic and smother/cook the vegatation and then till? 

A.  BLACK PLASTIC WILL WASTE A GROWING SEASON WHILE IT DOES ITS WORK, AND WILL NOT KILL ROOT SYSTEMS THAT GROW MORE THAN A FEW INCHES BELOW THE SURFACE.  AND TILLING WILL BRING A FRESH BATCH OF WEED SEEDS TO THE SURFACE TO GERMINATE AND MAKE YOUR LIFE MIZERABLE.

Q.  What if I concentrate on the growbeds and leave the pathways covered in grass and mow them so they do not provide weed seeds?”

A.  LEAVING WEEDS OF ANY KIND IN THE AISLES PROVIDES “BUG HOTELS”, SO THE BUGS (AND DISEASES) CAN ATTACK YOUR PLANTS EASILY.  ALSO, THE WEEDS WILL GROW INTO YOUR BEDS, AND YOU WILL BE OVERRUN WITH WEEDS IN THE ENTIRE GARDEN.

THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PROPER PREPARATION OF A GARDEN, AND ELIMINATING ALL WEEDS IS A MAJOR INGREDIENT OF THAT TASK.  WE RECOMMEND YOU START WITH A MUCH SMALLER GARDEN THAN YOU PLANNED ON; PREPARE THAT SMALLER SPACE RIGHT AND COMPLETELY, AND YOU WILL GROW MORE IN THE SMALLER SPACE THAN YOU WOULD HAVE DONE IN THE LARGER SPACE YOU ORIGINALLY PLANNED.  THEN, NEXT YEAR, IF YOU STILL WANT MORE VEGETABLES THAN YOU HAD LAST YEAR, PROPERLY PREPARE ANOTHER SECTION OF YOUR GARDEN PLOT BY ONCE AGAIN ELIMINATING ALL WEEDS, INCLUDING THEIR ROOT SYSTEMS.