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Fri Mar 11, 2016, 12:03 PM

Alternatives to Roundup

I'm looking for a safer alternative to glycophosphate to cover a small field I'm turning into a vegetable garden. It's been a horse pasture, so plenty fertilizer to be tilled in. But also a ton of weeds and grass.

What would you use?

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Alternatives to Roundup (Original post)
Bayard Mar 2016 OP
kentauros Mar 2016 #1
LiberalEsto Mar 2016 #2
NJCher Mar 2016 #4
HuckleB Mar 2016 #7
Viva_La_Revolution Mar 2016 #3
Bayard Mar 2016 #5
dixiegrrrrl Mar 2016 #6
HuckleB Mar 2016 #8
NutmegYankee Apr 2016 #9
Bayard Apr 2016 #10
NutmegYankee Apr 2016 #11

Response to Bayard (Original post)

Fri Mar 11, 2016, 12:15 PM

1. I hope you get some replies on this, because I'm also curious.

The only other alternative coming to mind is to do a controlled burn, if your county allows it.

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Fri Mar 11, 2016, 12:15 PM

2. Vinegar is the only safe thing I can think of

 

but it might be hard to spray an entire pasture.

The Ruth Stout gardening method of covering everything with thick layers of organic mulch would be good if you could start with smaller sections and gradually expand them. This covering can be manure, rotted hay, leaves, grass cilppings etc.

Here's a link to an article about it in Mother Earth News:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/ruth-stouts-system-zmaz04fmzsel.aspx

"My no-work gardening method is simply to keep a thick mulch of any vegetable matter that rots on both my vegetable and flower garden all year round. As it decays and enriches the soil, I add more. The labor-saving part of my system is that I never plow, spade, sow a cover crop, harrow, hoe, cultivate, weed, water or spray. I use just one fertilizer (cottonseed or soybean meal), and I don't go through that tortuous business of building a compost pile."

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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #2)

Fri Mar 11, 2016, 12:23 PM

4. I highly recommend the Ruth Stout method

I use it myself. I collect large brown cardboard boxes and flatten them. I only leave room for the plant itself to grow and be watered. I pile all kinds of stuff on top: mostly leaves, but also vegetable clippings. Small twigs. This keeps weeding to a minimum. I am setting this up now, which will leave me with fewer headaches as the gardening season moves on.

This doesn't completely eliminate weeding, but it does it about 95%. There are certain weeds that will find any little bit of sunlight and gravitate to it. That's when you get out the stirrup hoe and eliminate them so they don't pop up again. And, of course, you will always have to pinch out the little weeds growing next to your plant.


Cher

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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #2)

Mon Mar 14, 2016, 06:38 PM

7. It's really not any safer, however.

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Fri Mar 11, 2016, 12:18 PM

3. till it up,

And then after a week, till again. Plant your garden, then use a weeding hoe when they start popping up. Any poison you use on weeds well be left in the soil. This is the way it was done for thousands of years before we invented "weed killers".

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Fri Mar 11, 2016, 02:09 PM

5. I am using the lasagna method

I am lasagna'ing my big flower garden..........tons of free cardboard boxes from Amish store, horse manure, dead leaves and other vegetation, free wood mulch from the sawmill. Doing sections at a time, and hoping it will be cooked enough to plant in a month or so.

But the pasture is too big for that. The husband is a definite killer herbicide man. So I'm dithering.

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Fri Mar 11, 2016, 05:34 PM

6. My friend had the same problem...old pasture.

She liked the idea of using raised beds, for moisture holding, better drainage.
So she tilled once, left it for 10 days, tilled again, then built up the beds by raking dirt into long mounds.
She also uses row covers, lets the plants come up into holes in the covers.
The covers are lightweight, protect from bugs, etc and help keep moisture in ( this is SW Ala, semi-tropical zone.
All she has to do is run the hoe or even a small machine between rows to get weeds out.
One could also put down something in teh walking part of the rows...tho cardboard does attract pill bus and slugs.

I used to pile up my pulled weeds into 8 inch high rows, the dead weeds smother out any that tried to grow, and the next year I could turn them under for a good tilth in the soil and move the planting beds onto them.
Planting into deep mulch has a lot of advantages.

Tackling weeds by hand is labor intensive of course, but gardening is such good exercise if you have the time.

Also, you could try white plastic sheets for parts of the garden you won't be using. Just lay the plastic down, secure with bricks or whatever,
during summer, it kills weeds, kills bad microbes.

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Fri Apr 8, 2016, 07:47 PM

9. Can you cover it with straw?

A month under the straw should smother the grass and any weeds that get through would be easy to get.

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Response to Bayard (Original post)

Sat Apr 9, 2016, 01:37 AM

10. Plowing and Tilling

I ended up getting the field plowed, then disc'd. Now getting ready to start tilling rows. Looks deep enough to where the weeds were uprooted, so should be able to pick those up pretty easily.

Raking the dirt into mounds is a good idea. Should make it harder for weeds to come up on the paths too. I get free mulch from the sawmill, but can only get a pickup full at a time. Hoping to at least get enough to mulch around plants. We've already hauled several tons for the flower garden.

I did try putting straw down as one of the layers for the lasagne beds. Turned out to be wheat straw, and it all sprouted. Yikes!

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Response to Bayard (Reply #10)

Sat Apr 9, 2016, 07:54 AM

11. That sucks.

I look for "cooked" straw that has been heated to kill any seeds. It's usually available at a local feed and grain store.

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