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Post  gingeandhales on 4/10/2012, 2:50 pm

I only have myself to blame. I know. Anyway, last year I had a great spring garden going. Then I kind of lost interest over the summer and just let things happen. Now I'm ready to start again but because I ignored my boxes for so many months lots of weeds ended up finding their way in. We had so much wind lately and even the lawn is covered with little maple saplings. In addition to the maple I have some clover which I heard is sometimes used as a green mulch, but there are some other weeds that I don't know the names for. I pulled it all out of one box, but there are lots of roots to things (old plants or weeds I don't know).

So my question is, do I need to start fresh this year or is this mel's mix salvageable? I have some mix that I stored in a bag from last year, but not enough to refill my boxes so I will have to re-mix everything, and buy some more vermiculite (I only have 1/2 a bag left from last year).

So What would you do? Should I just add compost and hope for the best? Take everything out and start all over? Cover it for a few weeks and hope that is enough to kill everything in time for summer planting? What to do, what to do.

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Post  plantoid on 4/10/2012, 4:07 pm

Use scissors and snip of the weeds one square foot at a time , leave them to die & dry for a couple of days .

Clip any new ones that have emerged and cover the beds . Make up some ( read lots of ) one foot squares of cardboard masks that give you the planting matix of enough 1, 2 , 4 , 9 & 16 planting holes . i have 8 squares with 16 holes , 10 with x 9 holes & 8 squares with 5 holes ( this last one gives me a combination ) I also have 10 squares of one square foot blanks to cover against weeds and preheat the MM underneath .

Put these in position where you are going to direct sow seed , stake the mask in place with stiff wire made into an " L " shape , slip a single or couple of seeds in each hole in the mask , stir the hole gently with a pencil to cover the seed and gently give 1/2 a cup of water through the hole . then put your seed lanbel in one of the holes of the mask .

Once the seedlings emerge and you can see the pattern sown it is useful to remove the mask before the plants get too big . Continue to snip the emarging weeds , don't pull them as this will disturb the surface and like as not bring new weed seeds up to the surface for germination.

Any squares awaiting the correct day /sequence to be sown in or to recieve transplants can be covered with a complete unholed square of card board that is again staked down to keep the weeds away .

I've been playing with this method for a couple of weeks and am very happy with the results .. I've used left over /waste black buytl pond liner for the squares instead of cardboard as it also heats up the MM underneath .

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Post  gingeandhales on 4/10/2012, 4:35 pm

What a great idea! I don't have any cardboard but I do have weed block fabric. This is my tomorrow project.
Very Happy

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Post  camprn on 4/10/2012, 4:44 pm

I would just use a garden fork and stir up the contents of the Mel's mix, add a wheelbarrow full of compost and then mix that in as well. Stirring the mix will disrupt the small weed seedlings. Pull out the ones you can see. I really like Plantiod's garden mask idea.


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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau


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Post  plantoid on 4/10/2012, 6:50 pm

This is a mask of scrap buytl pond liner material made from the master pattern Weeds Endinsight027

Here are my three master patterns

Weeds Endinsight007

Tomorrow if it's not raining I'll be using allsorts of masks in the beds and will take a series of pictures ..

I've got small weeds a plenty in my beds because part of my MM was anaerobic composted stable much that had a hay content and even though the stuff is out the middle of a massive four yr old pile some of the seeds have survived .

It's the same for the thirty year old leaf compost I used in place of coir or peat, some weeds survived from the middle of the 1,000 ton heap .

Last edited by plantoid on 4/10/2012, 6:52 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post  JeanneRamick on 4/10/2012, 6:51 pm

Wow,plantoid .... I'm in awe of your advice. Thanks so much for sharing with us!

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Post  gingeandhales on 4/12/2012, 2:40 pm

Those pictures are great. I don't have anything like that lying around so I just laid some weed block on top (after removing the weeds and adding more compost of course). I used twine to mark my grids last year, and the twine is gone so I have to re-string it. Then I am going to cut the holes in the weed block fabric as I plant. I figure I can cut away each section of the fabric as needed. A little more work than your way, but I think it might work.

Today I did some container planting. Some spearamint and rosemary. I am starting my parsley and basil from seed and I think I will pot those up too, to save myself some squares and to keep them closer to my kitchen.

I also bought some leeks, I'm guessing I should put them in my deeper box. I also want to do shallots again. Those were a success last year, using some organic supermarket shallots. Getting excited about this again! Let's hear it for Year #2! Weeds 3170584802

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Post  littlesapphire on 4/12/2012, 4:27 pm

I would say just go for it. My garden boxes need cleaned out every spring, and although it's a job, it's not nearly as hard as tilling the soil for a traditional row garden. If you're diligent and pull the germinated weeds as they come up, it won't be long until you've got them all. I pulled a few small weeds a day for the first two months of the growing season last year, but after that, I swear I didn't have to do any weeding at all.

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Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/12/2012, 4:30 pm

Thanks plantoid for the awesome idea there! What a Face
Too Tall Tomatoes
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