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Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

Posted by ginnyginny Zone 9 Calif (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 5, 12 at 18:07

What do you think about putting a 2-3" layer of city compost on top of existing weeds? The "winter" weeds are all over my garden now. I'd prefer to get all the weeds out before doing my annual layer of compost, but I have compost arriving tomorrow and helpers to spread it and I can't get the weeds gone by then.

Some of the weeds are mallow, poa annua, euphorbia, oxalis stricta.

Thanks for your opinion.

Ginny


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

I would mow it first.


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RE: Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

I watered my weeds, put a layer of cardboard on top of them, watered the cardboard, and then put compost and mulch on top.

It's working! The weeds have been smothered and died, EXCEPT for the few areas where I didn't overlap the cardboard enough and the weeds poked through just enough to survive the layers of compost. This method is called sheet mulching, and I'm now a believer!


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RE: Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

These weeds are here and there in my garden beds which I will be planting in the spring. I doubt that the cardboard would be broken down in 3-4 months when I will be doing my spring planting.

What I'm wondering is if they will continue to grow and produce seeds even though they are covered with 2" of compost? Doesn't seem like they would but then again weeds can be very stubborn.

Thanks for your ideas.
Ginny


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RE: Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

I think a couple inches wouldn't begin to faze weeds that are more than the tiniest seedlings.


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RE: Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

Don't know if this is applicable to compost, but I put down 2 to 3 inches of mulch in the form of grass clippings and lotsa whole leaves. After just a couple weeks and a lot of rain, the 2 to 3 inches of mulch was no higher than 1 inch, and many henbit weeds in my garden were again visible.


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RE: Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

I think you are all right - I don't know why I thought that covering them would kill them, although as I think about it I guess that's what I thought - don't plants need light to grow..........I guess not weeds. I understand seeds live in the soil for years and when they get to the surface they germinate.....yumm.... and I thought I knew something about gardening :(

Ginny


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RE: Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

For some weeds 2 or 3 inches of a mulch coulkd be enough to deprive them of the light they need to grow, but others would grow right through that thin layer. You need something (newspaper) over those weeds but under the mulch material to be sure they are deprived of access to light so they do die, and return the nutrients they removed form your soil.


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RE: Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

Yes, plants deprived of light can't grow, but a thin layer (your 2-3") of mulch is easily shouldered aside. You'd succeed if you applied cardboard or 6-8 sheets of newspaper under the compost mulch. In spring, you would either cut a hole for seedlings or run a slit down the newspaper to plant seeds.

People always talk about their newspaper or cardboard breaking down by spring. If my newspaper is broken down by spring, I reapply it. There's nothing better than a cool, moist, newspaper mulch and I try to keep my garden under one perennially.


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RE: Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

What ssmdgardener said works great,
After a good soaking,Put cardboard down (overlap the edges by a few inches)and wet the cardboard real good,apply your compost, the cardboard (if it was saturated) won't be an issue at all...that stuff breaks down fast and the worms love it.

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RE: Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

You all have convinced me of the value of cardboard/newspapers and mulch and that my 3" of compost won't do much.

Thank you for your ideas and those wonderful pictures!!

Ginny


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RE: Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

Oh, your 3" of compost will be a lovely addition to your soil. It just isn't light impenetrable enough as a weed suppressing mulch.


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RE: Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

  • Posted by corrine1 7b Pacific Northwest (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 9, 12 at 11:52

As stated - cardboard is very good & will decompose for you. During your spring planting if you're transplanting large things you can dig right through that cardboard with a shovel no problem. I've done it lots of times. The key is moisture!


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RE: Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

I'm putting down cardboard and straw mulch in my veggie garden and around the borders of my flower garden. Trying to keep up with weeding made me crazy last year and everything was still full of weeds. I have my MIL collecting boxes at her work. I've got a stack of broken down boxes several feet high already.


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RE: Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

Try using newspaper in part of that garden. I far prefer it to cardboard.


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RE: Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

annpat - I have used newspaper several years ago around my tomatoes with straw over it. It worked pretty well. I probably could have overlapped more and put down thicker layers for a better result. I also have a large collection of newspaper, so I may do that in some areas as well. I have well over an acre of veggie garden and like a fifth acre of flower garden. There's plenty of area to experiment.


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RE: Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

I would remove all the weeds with seeds and as many weed seeds as possible before applying compost.


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RE: Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

I would mow it as short as my mower would go. Cover it with the compost, then newspaper, then mulch.


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RE: Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

I've found that if you keep your garden sufficiently mulched it doesn't matter how many weed seeds you have in your beds because they'll never get the chance to grow.


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RE: Would you weed first before putting down 3' compost?

  • Posted by jolj 7b/8a-S.C.,USA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 15, 12 at 4:52

I would mow, but Ruth Stout, one of the first no-till gardeners,only pushed the weeds over & mulch hay on them.
She did this into her 80's.


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