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Author Topic: Planting with plastic?  (Read 1837 times)
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triggerjay
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« on: December 07, 2009, 02:05:30 PM »

Around my neck of the woods, I have seen people covering their gardens with clear plastic prior to planting for weed control. Last year was my first real attempt at a garden, and the weeds went mad. I guess I should tell you that my garden was a lawn before I got to it. I tilled it in the spring, and planted. I tried to keep up on the weeds the best I could, but I planted way too close together to do any real damage to the weeds without tearing up my plants... so in the end, the weeds won.. Last week I tilled the garden again, and made it bigger to allow more room to weed, but I have also been throwing the idea of the plastic weed barrier around in my head... Till the garden again in the spring, cover it with plastic, and only cut holes where I plant at? Sound feasable? or should I forget the whole plastic idea? I will try to get a couple pics of my garden area posted on here as well.. Thanks in advance for any replies!

Jason
« Last Edit: December 07, 2009, 02:28:37 PM by triggerjay » Logged

Located just outside Springfield MO. Zone 6A
triggerjay
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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2009, 02:26:00 PM »

Heres a pic of the garden plot and a closeup of the soil. This is one week after tilling. I have thought about running the tiller through it once more before the freeze sets in.


« Last Edit: December 07, 2009, 02:29:06 PM by triggerjay » Logged

Located just outside Springfield MO. Zone 6A
chuckga
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« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2009, 02:37:47 PM »

Jason,

Personaly I feel that you can't beat a good hoe and a little labor about once a week or every other week to control weeds in a garden. It has the advantage of keeping down the weeds and also it loosens up the soil to allow the plants to breath. Weeds are only a problem if you do not work them out of the garden when they are young, leave them till they get a good root hold and you work yourself to death trying to remove them. Keep a regular practice of weeding and it is not difficult at all.

Some folks plant the way you describe and it can be done but allow me to recomend what I consider a better solution (the previous comment is the best) if you do not have to time to hoe.

Either use straw or grass clippings. Put the straw around your plant about 3 or 4 inches deep, that will keep the grass down and at the same time will allow your plants to "breath" in addition the plants will retain moisture much better. Straw or grass clippings will not totaly elimanate grass from growing in your garden, however the main objective to controling grass is to allow the plants to establish themselves. Once a plant is established then the need for weed control is not such a big requirement.
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chuckga
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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2009, 02:41:24 PM »

Jason,

After seeing the pictures, I would also recomend that you have someone with a tractor and turning plow to come over and turn that. It does not look to me that you have been able to till deep enough to really get rid of the grass (since it appears to be new ground). Turning the garden about 1 foot deep will loosen up the ground and also kill off the grass since the grass will wind up on the bottom of the soil.
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thebayougardener
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« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2009, 03:08:27 PM »

I agree with Chuck, the deeper you can turn it the better off you'll be.

Donald
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Cubman
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« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2009, 03:16:24 PM »

X3...
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triggerjay
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« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2009, 03:26:40 PM »

I used a troy built "horse" rear tine tiller.. I think it goes about 8" deep or so.. the final passes it was set to dig as deep as it could. The ground is loose,... but I know the grass will be back. a week ago half of this area was lawn. I will have to try to get my neighbor to bring his tractor over and turn it in real deep for me... Oh,... another thing... what would be a good price to have him do it? its 40'X45'.. I seem to get ripped off on things like this.. One thing in my favor though.. I found a total of 3 rocks when I tilled it.. so it should be easy to turn it with a tractor..

Jason

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Located just outside Springfield MO. Zone 6A
Cubman
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« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2009, 03:36:40 PM »

a "good" neighbor shouldn't charge his fellow man...in my opinion...

but i wouldn't expect a feebie either...

$50 should be a reasonable price though...

Getting back to da plastic...won't do much good to cover during the winter months...

Takes heat under the plastic to sterlize...this is known as Solar Sterlization...not only will it help control weeds...it's also good practice for nematode control...

Going to take some effort and planning of crop roatation on your part...for example...when the potatoes come off...till, cover for two weeks, retill, recover for another two weeks...and plant something else...in that area...

A steady rotaion while practicing Solar Sterlization during the spring/summer growing season should have your garden in good shape come fall planting time...
« Last Edit: December 07, 2009, 03:40:56 PM by Cubman » Logged


 
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« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2009, 03:48:51 PM »

Cubby....Wouldn't black plastic be better than clear?
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« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2009, 03:53:09 PM »

yup... Grin
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my '71 Camaro SS and an exact representation of my '71 Monte Carlo...

just because you can tell me the physical properties of your shoe laces doesn't mean you have the common sense to tie them...
triggerjay
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« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2009, 03:58:13 PM »

I'm going to go google the term Solar Sterlization and see what I can come up with. I totally understand what you mean with the careful planning of rotation. I wouldnt want to cover the whole garden with a solid sheet, but rather several sheets that I could remove/rep;ace throughout the growing season. I really don't plan to do much else to it until after last frost (Mid april around here), aside from trying to get my neighbor to turn it over for me. So, heres the plan IF I use the plastic:
1. Have neighbor turn over deep
2. start plants indoors a few weeks before planting date
3. Till again after last frost
4. Plan out garden rows
5. Cover individual rows with plastic
6. Poke holes and plant
7. pull plastic, re-till rows, re-cover, and replant for rotation...

lol... I know I am making more of this than I prob need to,... I just dont want a field of weeds like I had last year.. My plants were WAY too close together.. I couldn't even get my weed eater attachment cultivator in without tearing everything up.. Trust me,... I tried to weed it,... and it was easy when stuff was small.... but once the garden filled in there was no way to weed it other than by hand (which I also did a lot of).. and the weeds got so bad it choked out my plants,.. especially the cuc's and squashes.. basically anything close to the ground suffered.

Jason
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triggerjay
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« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2009, 04:01:02 PM »

Cubby....Wouldn't black plastic be better than clear?

I have heard people doing it both ways... but with the black you have to cover the plastic in real hot weather so you dont burn everything up... people around here use mulch, newspapers, or sawdust to cover the black to solve the problem.. Now, on another note, the black heats up the soil much faster in the early season as well.. which in some parts of the country (short growing season) would be an advantage.

Jason
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triggerjay
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« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2009, 04:10:56 PM »

This is about the best info I found on it:
http://searchwarp.com/swa335703.htm

It points to the use of clear plastic as well... ? I would think the black would kill the weeds better with the lack of light, and excess heat. I dunno.... I am more confused now than I was before.. lol. Maybe I will do a trial run, and do one row with clear, one row with black, and then just weed the rest of the garden.. and make my choice for the following year from that.. lol.

Jason
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« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2009, 04:14:48 PM »

Cubby....Wouldn't black plastic be better than clear?

I have heard people doing it both ways... but with the black you have to cover the plastic in real hot weather so you dont burn everything up... people around here use mulch, newspapers, or sawdust to cover the black to solve the problem.. Now, on another note, the black heats up the soil much faster in the early season as well.. which in some parts of the country (short growing season) would be an advantage.

Jason

sounds like ya looking for plastic to do the mulching...


never realy liked growing with the aid of plastic during the hottest months....if anything..I'll use a straw mulch...I'm a firm believer in letting roots breath...
« Last Edit: December 07, 2009, 04:21:04 PM by Cubman » Logged


 
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« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2009, 04:40:21 PM »

Well when i started gardening in my backyard I only had a tiller,  what I did was till the spot up well and put down a couple of sheets of newspaper cover the whole garden with it may have to wet it a little to hold it down on a windy day.   when cover the newspaper with straw any mulch will do, we have lots of pines here so all i did was rake up some.  I did not seed any plants just transplants cut a hole and stick the transplants in.  hardly had any weeds and the mulch held moisture. Side dressing just pull up some of the papers and drop it around the base of the plants not to close.  the newspapers would rot by end of the season and really there wasn't much work to the garden.  If anyone tries this do not use color or slick sheets of paper, just the black and white news.
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chuckga
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« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2009, 05:22:59 PM »

Trigger,

I think you are making it too complicated. The real problem was as you said "planted too close to allow you to use your tiller to control the grass". I have made the same mistake before myself.

Simply have your garden spot turned deep with a plow and then plant your plants leaving a wide enough middle to get your tiller thru and that will solve most of your grass issues. The more you work your garden spot the better it will be so it may take a couple years for you to begin seeing the differance. You planted in new ground where a lawn was, dont let the grass discourage you.


I have a neighbor that covered his garden spot with black plastic for two or three years and to be honest I didnt see that it really made any significant differance. The yield off my garden was more often than not better than his and I didnt go thru all that work. There could be a lot of factors other than the plastic but I have noticed that in the past couple years he has done away with the plastic and broke out the tiller. He also spoke of nemotoids and such, I dont doubt that he understood what he was talking about or that it had some level of validity, however its not really rocket science to grow a garden and be succesful at it. Mother nature does it all the time  Grin

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triggerjay
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« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2009, 06:41:35 PM »

ah, I tend to make everything more complicated than it has to be.. I may come off like I am worried about it,.... its not that at all... I am just curious about my options, and want to pick the best one. Right now, its an empty plot. So if I make any major changes to it, now is the time... just weighing my options I guess you could say. I have a lot of time these days to think about things like this.... They closed our plant back in may, and I have been out of work since... Kinda stir crazy! lol.. Life is great without the job, but I feel bad for my poor wife having to work overtime to pay the bills.. But there is just no jobs out there in my field... so I sit and ponder on things like this... lol.. I have seen all of Donalds vids..... some even twice... Its amazing what one can accomplish while out of work...

Jason
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triggerjay
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« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2009, 07:03:08 PM »

I was just digging around on the PC and found a couple pics from the garden. The area where the tomato plants are was basically hand weeded... the rest of it I let go. The grass eventually killed the yellow squash. I managed to keep it at bay around the tomatoes, but thats about it.. the grass ate my melons, cuc's, pepper plants.. basically everything except the tomatoes... but it took HOURS of on your knees work to get them done..





I just don't want to end up with the same mess.. these pics were on the fourth of july..

Jason
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chuckga
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« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2009, 07:37:59 PM »

Jason,

I can see from the pictures that the ground is compacted which would have made weeding very difficult to say the least. Had you been able to run your tiller thru between the plants at least once a week or at the most once every couple weeks, then used a hoe to loosen the ground around the plants AFTER tilling then your efforts would been minimal in keeping the grass at bay.

Your plants would have also been much larger due to there growing in loose soil rather than compacted soil.
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« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2009, 07:45:16 PM »

... but it took HOURS of on your knees work to get them done..

I just don't want to end up with the same mess...

Jason

and it will take hours if ya let the grass/weeds grow to that point...

ya got to weed often...smaller the better...and quicker...

one of these does wonders...and, your not on your knees...not to mention, plants love the air circulation at the roots because of the loosen soil, helps eradicate soil born fungus/disease because it allows soil to drain/dry faster after watering/wet spells, allows a fluffed soil that readily absorbs moisture/fertilizers...instead of a crust that rejects these...or allows run off..etc...etc...

IF your adding any admendments/fertilizer...the plants show lack of (yellowing='s lack of nitrogen, stunted sparse growth)...my guess, the crusted soil isn't allowing them to absorb in the soil...



lack of use...you end up with a mess...
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« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2009, 07:59:04 PM »

Hey tj.....If you till it up real good, rake out what grass you can, lay on 8 to 10 inches of hay (now), by spring you won't be worried with grass OR compacted soil. Just pull back the hay (which will be down to, probably 3 inches thick by then), plant seeds or transplants.....and sit back.
The ONLY way to garden, my friend....as far as I'm concerned.

P.S..... You'll still have some trouble with nutgrass (do I hear Greg and Cubby laughing?)if it's in your area.....but the soil will be so soft, it'll be easy to take up.
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chuckga
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« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2009, 08:09:12 PM »

Jason,

We wish you good luck on next years crop my friend  Smiley
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Cubman
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« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2009, 08:18:38 PM »

Jason,

We wish you good luck on next years crop my friend  Smiley

X2...
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my '71 Camaro SS and an exact representation of my '71 Monte Carlo...

just because you can tell me the physical properties of your shoe laces doesn't mean you have the common sense to tie them...
thebayougardener
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« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2009, 11:27:40 PM »

Jason ... don't worry about the grass right now.  Get that spot broken up as deep as you can and each time it dries up enough during the winter, till it.  Adding fertilizer now wouldn't be a bad idea either.  10 lbs. of fertilizer would be about right.  Before planting this spring add some more fertilizer, about 5 lbs. and you'll be good to go.

Till and hill your rows right before planting.  Space your plants as recommended and space your rows wide enough to get that tiller through without damaging the plants.  If you hoe 2 rows a week when the grass is small, you'll have the best looking garden around.  Keep it Simple  ...  Less is More.
 
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Retired and loving it.  Didn't know life could be so good.

Donald (The Bayou Gardener) (WebCajun) Live on a Louisiana Bayou
Kubota L3240 (32 HP 4WD) - King Kutter II 5 ft. Tiller - Row Hippers - Middle Buster - Rolling Cultivator - Reg and Box Blades - Woods 5 ft. Finishing Mower - Covington Planter - Hoss Planter - EarthWay Planter - Hatfield Transplanter

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« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2009, 12:15:19 AM »

Jason,  Below is a picture of two 25' potato rows mulched with wheat straw about 8" deep.  They are planted in a new garden this past spring that was centipede grass last fall.  I did not touch these potato rows from mid-March to end of June with a hoe and did not have weed one in the potatoes.  However, the adjacent rows had to be cleaned weekly with my collinear hoe.  It just scrapes the surface and cuts the weeds and grass like a knife but it is still work!  Welcome to gardening my friend, your efforts will be amply rewarded with healthy and tasty vegetables.

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