killing weed seeds in soil

WidenerValleyMarch 23, 2014

We moved this year so I get to build a new vegetable garden. But, this year I won't be around to take care of a garden or harvest, so I have the luxury of preparing the soil this year, for my garden next year. I usually mix farm soil with horse manure for my garden, but then I have lots of weeds. I'm wondering if I can use plastic to cover the soil for a year to kill the weed seeds, and then remove it to actually garden next year. If so, is there a specific plastic that works best? A specific soil depth, temperature? Or other things I can do to have wonderful soil for my garden next year? I'm bummed that I won't be able to have a garden this year, but want to utilize the time for an even better garden next year.

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cold_weather_is_evil(9)

Heavy black plastic in full sun over moist soil will kill everything (weeds, worms, fungi, microbes, larvae...) but i don't know how deep the kill zone is.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 3:27PM
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klem1

As cold weather said,you also kill things in the soil that are benificial. I suggest having the soil tested and turning it if it hasn't been recently. Add amendments ( other than N ) according to soil test. Alow weeds to sprout. Shallow till/rake to kill young weeds. Water or rain will sprout new seeds brought to the surface. Repeat the cycle each time weeds sprout. You need only rake/till before plants mature and seed but doing it while they are small is easier and alows more cycles. If you will be home during the fall you might plan a fall garden. If not,plant a winter cover crop which you mow and/or plow under early next year. If the first soil test showed extreme deficence,you might run another test in 2015 so that if needed you can amend before planting. While making a desision,here is something to consider. Most weed seed have coatings of varying thickness and premability which cause them to germinate in multiple years,up to 20 years for dandilions and ohers.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 4:05AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

What you are thinking of is solarizing the soil and most everything I have read about this is to use clear plastic, not black, and two layers, not one.
Why do you use "farm soil" with horse manure and not vegetative waste?

Here is a link that might be useful: solarizing soil

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 7:00AM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

I'm with Klem, grow/kill cycles are the way to go for reducing weed seed load in a vegetable garden.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 11:15AM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

If you can, I would water really well after getting the soil together. When the weeds come up, kill them by tilling, flaming or whatever method you prefer and then plant a thick cover crop to out-compete other weeds and then till that in during the fall or allow it to winter kill and be mulch for next year's crops.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 1:25PM
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WidenerValley

Thanks for the responses. I'll post the outcome later this year!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 7:05AM
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darth_weeder(z7 NY)

I'm in the heavy mulch or cover crop circus

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 2:48PM
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