Do you reccommend solar de-weeding?

tomatokate

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I've heard how it kills most weeds, and some pests, but it sounds pretty expensive, and impractical. I just tilled my garden, and I want to de-weed it fairly thoroughly. :)
 

patandchickens

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You mean when you spread clear plastic on the area and weight it so it doesn't blow off, and leave it for a few months?

Works pretty good, assuming high sun and long daylength (e.g. not going to work in spring or fall in high latitudes) and moderately moist soil.

IME in NC and the Northeast, you really need to leave the plastic on for 6-8 wks minimum (time may be shorter in hotter sunnier areas, I dunno, I try not to live places like that LOL). Be warned that at first you will think it's failing horribly b/c all sorts of weeds will sprout up under the plastic. But assuming the plastic is well sealed to the ground around all the edges, and unperforated, they will soon die.

I dunno whether you necessarily have time to do it now for ground to be planted this year, though, except maybe for late crops like melons. (I really dunno. You'd have to figure out what's plausible for your area).

I've never found it particularly expensive. For small areas, old vinyl shower curtains (clear or translucent) work real well. For larger areas (not market-garden sized, obviously), you can buy rolls of 2-4 mil clear plastic for pretty cheap. The main thing is the time required to first get the soil moderately flat and somewhat moist, then roll out all the plastic ON A NONWINDY DAY :p and hill soil over the edges so's to seal it to the ground, and put some boards or smoothish tree branches across it here and there so it doesn't flap itself loose.

Do not count on it to kill persistant perennial weed roots (canada thistle, twitchgrass, that sort of thing). Left on for a year or more, it will kill most and severely weaken what's left, but with 'normal' solarizing you will still need to remove those by hand, preferably *before* solarizing.

Good luck, have fun,

Pat, with shower curtains currently on part of the garden, not to solarize the soil especially (not hot enough here yet) but to warm the soil up for early tomatoes in wall-o-waters in a few weeks.
 

BlackThumb

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I had mixed luck with solar, but I was encouraged enough to try again with a new garden area.

I have an L-shaped yard. The vertical segment is 35x70. Horizontal 20x40. A year ago, I started to clear out the vertical segment after it had been completely ignored for 25 years. It was literally encased in bermuda, johnson grass, nettle and morning glories. I cut them to the ground, sprayed with RoundUp, waited six weeks, sprayed again, and then covered the 35x70 space with 7 mil black plastic. That was in October. In March (zone 9), I removed it, found one or two albino bermuda plants, and more earthworms than I ever expected. I went on to build my raised beds and plant my garden.

I have spots of Bermuda still coming up, and a few other random things, but I would estimate a 75-80% kill rate.

In March, I did the same thing to the horizontal yard in anticipation of 2011. Our summers are over 100 degrees half the time, so I expect the heat on that black plastic to do a pretty solid job of killing the bermuda.

I have been contemplating building extra tall (more than two feet) beds in this new yard, but building them right on top of the plastic, then filling in the paths as well with something. I have room for 12 beds, 4x8, in six pairs. Not sure if it would work, but it sure would be easy to weed !
 

catjac1975

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I have used black plastic weighted down on a new, former woods, bed with lots of old roots, nasty weeds etc.
Works like a charm if you are patient. worms like it in the early spring too.
 

RickF

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I've been doing my front yard for about a month now in the Los Angeles area.. Part of the yard appears to be doing OK with this but another side seems to think it's a greenhouse and the bermuda grass has grown to close to a foot tall raising the plastic high up.. Go figure!
 
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