Difficulty grass in my garden

I’m gardening in a thin layer of compost over clay. I ran out of cardboard and just put wood chips down in the pathways. When grass grows in the compost I can pull it, no big deal, but when it grows in the clay right through the wood chips, it’s impossible to pull out by hand!

Any recommendations?

Comments

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Moderator Posts: 2,683 admin

    @Megan Venturella When you prep the garden in ther fall, pull back ther wood chips and add cardboard. It will save you a lot of time next year and improve the soil.

    I have clay and rock here. The first year I put in a garden, unless its raised bed, is a real chore getting the soil improved and easy top work with.

    As for this year, I am not sure what will work well.

  • Megan Venturella
    Megan Venturella Posts: 472 ✭✭✭✭

    Good idea. I wish I’d done it right the first time!

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Moderator Mid North Coast AustraliaPosts: 1,114 admin

    @Megan Venturella I use gypsum to help break up any soil with a clay component. I try hard not to dig my garden beds at all, so I use a mix of gypsum, lime or dolomite and blood & bone, sprinkled liberally on top and then add compost and mulch to top that off. In no time at all the soil has “softened” and the earthworms are doing the job for me. Instructions are usually on the bag but its only handfuls per sq Mt.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 912 ✭✭✭✭

    Dig the grass roots with a shovel. Push the shovel in hard at an angle just under the surface, low enough to cut the grass off from the roots underneath. Then turn the chunk of clay and grass over in the same spot, roots, up, grass down.

    I find grass to be the hardest thing to keep out of my garden. Sometimes it's hard to believe that grass is only a few million years old, and for most of the history of the Earth there was no grass anywhere. It takes over everything nowadays!

  • water2world
    water2world Sherry Jochen Sevierville, TNPosts: 534 ✭✭✭

    @VermontCathy so true, but at then same time, it doesn't want to grow where I want it! lol

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Moderator Posts: 810 admin

    @Megan Venturella when I run out of cardboard, I put any old cotton or linen cloth: old bed linen, old towels. The disintegrate in a year or two and in the meantime the roots of weeds more or less die. I grow my vegetables in high beds, but I cover all the soil around high beds with wood chips.

  • Megan Venturella
    Megan Venturella Posts: 472 ✭✭✭✭

    @JodieDownUnder Gypsum! Such a thing exists?? Wow thank you that is great to know gardening where I do. I had to use a pick axe to make holes for every single hole corn plant this year...

    @VermontCathy I like the shovel idea! I’ll have to try that too if I can dig in the clay.

    @jowitt.europe Thank you, I never realized that!

    Part of the problem is how lush the grass is. Here’s a picture so you see what I’m dealing with. I made the rows so narrow I can’t even run a lawn mower in there to take it all down unless the beds are empty too. 🤔


  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Moderator Mid North Coast AustraliaPosts: 1,114 admin

    @Megan Venturella I’ve been known to put sheets of galvanised iron or alsinite (white or smoked roof sheeting) down on patches of hard to get rid of grass. Place some heavy objects on top. The sheets stop the sun getting to the plant (stopping photosynthesis) and makes it very hot in summer and the grass dies. You need to leave this on for at least a couple of weeks. When you take it off the grass will be yellow, then you can either water it a little and pull the grass out or use a whipper-sniper. Then top dress with gypsum and compost etc, then you’re ready to plant up the area. Just remember it’s nature’s way to cover a bare patch of soil with whatever she can! Areas like that really respond to being planted with something like comfrey, so you have a cover on the ground and it’s remediating the soil at the same time.

  • Megan Venturella
    Megan Venturella Posts: 472 ✭✭✭✭

    @JodieDownUnder BRILLIANT!!!!!

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 576 ✭✭✭

    I have the constant battle of grass in clay dirt too. I usually turn the turf upside down when I dig it. Then I beat the dirt out of the turf with a hoe. Some times I layer compost/potting soil or sand on top. Some of my friends "solarize" the soil by layering plastic on top, but I'm not a big fan of using plastic in the garden. I some times do use cardboard on top of the sod and then add the compost and/or sand on top of that.

  • gardneto76
    gardneto76 Posts: 384 ✭✭✭

    One of the things I have discovered is it really depends on the type of grass you have. I have Bermuda and learned it has roots here up to 6 ft deep. Shoveling it out and flipping it over makes the grass come back fuller than before. Cardboard and mulch will get you some time, but it came right back into my new garden bed as soon as I started watering it. I have not covered it in plastic because I had just covered it in my fresh compost 2 weeks before the grass bounced back. I didn’t want to kill off all the benefits of that compost. I am hoping watering my grassy area will entice it back to where it should be.

  • Paradox
    Paradox Posts: 187 ✭✭✭

    Never too late! And even with cardboard, it breaks down over time. it's a never-ending battle!

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 912 ✭✭✭✭

    @marjstratton @gardneto "Constant battle" is about right. Some grass varieties may be worsed than others, and clay is much worse than other soils because it's so hard to dig the grass out.

    But any grass is stubborn and likely to require constant maintenance. You will never completely get rid of it, at least not if it continues to grow anywhere near your garden. I have grass growing right next to my raise beds, and it keeps trying to infiltrate them.

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 576 ✭✭✭

    @VermontCathy the grass hangs over the edges of my raised beds and seeds in unless I hoe it down and keep it back from the edges. Although the grass is annoying, there are some other plants that love to be in my garden, particularly thistle. I know that the thistle is there to bring up the deep nutrients. Still they are so painful to pull. I also mow them sometimes, but unless I get those roots out of the soil, it will re-emerge.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 912 ✭✭✭✭

    @marjstratton Yes, the grass hangs over the edges of my raised beds, too. I try to mow along the edge of the beds, but you just can't get the mower closer enough to the wood to get it all.

    I don't use an edge trimmer near my beds because it would damage the wood and let rot in. Even as it is, the beds rot out after a few years and have to be replaced, which is a major pain.

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 576 ✭✭✭

    I also don't like my husband to use the string trimmer next to the garden beds. Besides ruining the wood, it also sprays grass seed all over the bed. I just take my hoe and remove the plants that are up next to the bed. Takes a lot of work the first time through but I then put sand up next to the beds which makes it easier to get the weeds out. Actually this year I dug out around one of the beds and put down pavers which so far is working great. Now I have only six more bed to do. Not excited about all that work, but it needs to be done. Some times the thistles come up between the pavers, but I just need to keep up with it.

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 576 ✭✭✭
"Italy is known for tomatoes. Thailand for chilies. Germany for sauerkraut. But tomatoes originated in Peru. Thailand imported chilies from Central America. Sauerkraut started in China. Everything is a remix—and the world is better for it. Share what you know. Learn from others."

-Marjory Wildcraft