Author Topic: winter "tarping" of garden area?  (Read 18013 times)

Offline Ohio Woman

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winter "tarping" of garden area?
« on: December 04, 2011, 04:26:50 AM »
I have a 20x30 garden spot that is infested with weeds. My gardens are split in 2 with the other 22x40 area fenced in next to the other. I did not till under the weeds in the spare garden. In late Fall I raked out the dead stuff and removed the landscaper cloth I tried to use for reducing the weeds. It worked only 75% effecience on keeping the weeds at bay because I used the wrong kind. dont ask...
My husband, with the best of intentions upon hearing I wanted to "tarp" the old garden so I can kill off weeds, bought me a 20x30 regular tarp. One side blue, the other silver grey. I did not have the heart to tell him I was speaking of the thick black plastic after he was so proud and excited he found the perfect size & immediatly got it the week I spoke of doing this. [he's not a grdener but tries so hard to please me with these little things. <3 }

I decided to give it a try anyway and laid that tarp down, securing in the ringlets with U landscape pins. Planned on leaving it this way until about late May/early June.
Will it be effective in killing off weeds & their seed from this last summers weed invasion or am I just wasting time?
Anyone else experiment or have success using a regular tarp? I really am having a hard time finding leaves and am contemplating calling the township for permission to get some from their leaf dump off spot {were just a little country small town so no chains of command to deal with}.
IF I am successful with getting the leaves, should I put them under the tarp for breaking down during the winter and possibly kill off these irritating weed invaders?

This certain plot will not be used for our food gardening. I am entertaining my thoughts & observations in the local farm markets to grow cutting flowers that our children & I will sell during market season. Something to give me/us a little extra "mad money" and avoid working part time for/with the current crazy people.  :o

Thank you for your help in figuring this all out. I have never done a tarping method but thought it wouldnt hurt to try over winter.

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: winter "tarping" of garden area?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2011, 06:52:20 AM »
I have done it over the hot summer to kill down some weeds.  it worked great.  but I do not know about winter.

ps - what a nice hubby you have.

Offline FrugalFannie

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Re: winter "tarping" of garden area?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2011, 08:36:48 AM »
Ahhhh. I have one of those husband's too. It's nice that they listen and will act but I have found it agravating when he gets the "wrong" one. I have found that I will some times be very explicit about what I want and why so that if he decides to go out and surprise me with it I get the right thing. He doesn't really notice when I do this as opposed to just making a general comment.

You have a good one. Keep him. You just have to learn to train him a little better.  ;)

Offline Perfesser

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Re: winter "tarping" of garden area?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2011, 09:54:54 AM »
 I suppose there's 2 ways to go about this.
1. Cover with the tarp, let the weeds germinate, grow till their seed energy is exhausted and die off from no sun.
2. Cover with black or clear plastic to make a solar oven and cook the weeds till well done. This will work in the heat but not over the winter.

Offline Illini Warrior

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Re: winter "tarping" of garden area?
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2011, 02:14:02 PM »
if the weeds have seeded, tarping and the winter cold is not going to stop the greater majority from sprouting next spring ...... one of the chief reasons why you never compost weeds ...... weed seeds can survive for years in a compost and still sprout ..... I would till your compost and leaves into the plot next spring ...... plant and weed like nobody's business to keep the weeds from getting the upper hand .......

Offline Ohio Woman

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Re: winter "tarping" of garden area?
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2011, 06:10:26 PM »
Thank you all. I will also invest in a Hula Hoe which from everything I have read, cuts hours off the time spent weeding.

Offline cohutt

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Re: winter "tarping" of garden area?
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2011, 07:39:32 PM »
Thank you all. I will also invest in a Hula Hoe which from everything I have read, cuts hours off the time spent weeding.

The type that looks like a stirrup?

Works like a charm

Offline Ohio Woman

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Re: winter "tarping" of garden area?
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2011, 02:42:49 AM »
That would be the one. lol. I believe it is also called "the Dutch stirrup". ;) Gardener supply has them on sale around 50% off. I made a firm request to order one this month. I may get 2 of them being that price. Makes for additional help to be a bit more willing with not having to hand & knee pull the weeds. I have yet to read a bad thing about thing them. All glowing comments like instead of  half the day weeding, it reduced the time to about 1 hour. Now that's what I'm talking about! :) Weeds have become my nemesis and I am planning my attack early.

Offline cohutt

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Re: winter "tarping" of garden area?
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2011, 05:14:24 AM »
They are great for open spaces. I find them (or me) to be a little clumsy close to plants.

Offline Pathman

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Re: winter "tarping" of garden area?
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2011, 07:18:37 AM »
I covered my 10 x 10 garden plot last year with cardboard then covered with a couple of old tarps I had. Strangely enough, I have pictures of the cardboard but not the tarps covering  By the next may there was no grass left.  I double dug the entire plot adding amendments as I went.  When I was all done, I covered it with black landscaping cloth.  I had no trouble with weeds growing up through.  Near the end of summer, I started getting some type of grass that spread by latching on to the top of the garden cloth.


Offline Roundabouts

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Re: winter "tarping" of garden area?
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2011, 07:25:12 AM »
I have used tarps plastic wood straw and cardboard.  All to kill off grass and weeds.  All seem to work just fine for me.  Some faster than others.  Depends on the time of year and what was used.  Some spots were killed just by accident because I was to slow at moving /putting away items.  I would just leave your tarp down and maybe put something on it to weight it down.  Maybe chipboard.  Seems where ever I stack wood of any kind the green stuff disappears.   Then just till or dig in the spring. 

Now you didn't say what kind of weeds you are trying to get rid of.  If you have say Canadian thistles well so sorry.  They grow in colonies .  The only way I have found to stop them is to find the mother plant (the biggest in the bunch) dig down a ways and take a paint brush dipped in round up and paint the roots with it.   That is so much work. So I just keep burning them.  The seed heads once formed can continue to develop so you don't want to just cut and drop.  The worst thing you can do is till as each cut root will sprout into it's own city.  Their root system can spread 20-50' to start a new group.  The biggest problem is the seeds are air born so even if I do manage to kill all of them in no time more will blow in and I get to start all over.  Not to mention their seeds can lay dormant for years and years. 

So my point is if you have a ton of a certain weed study that weed so you can learn how best to control it.  Remember that sometimes weeds can be your friends.  You can eat them they can keep bugs away you can make tea and some weeds do have pretty flowers Some weeds even improve the soil.  Sometimes weeds can be an indicator of what your soil is lacking or has to much of. 

If you are talking just clearing out an area to prep for planting I think the tarp will work fine. You might want to get a tiger torch I love mine and it works great  burn the grass ( well you don't char it you are steaming it) then cover with a tarp.  If you were to add leaf compost and let the tarp work to decompose you may create to much heat and even though you would kill weed seeds you may also kill off beneficials in the soil.  Off the top of my head I don't remember the temps.   

To make garden areas mid summer I burned the grass covered in cardboard and then covered with rotting hay and straw.  Then from time to time I lift a corner of the cardboard and throw under some kitchen waste.  The worms are loving it and the moles are loving the worms.  Nature is tilling for me!  It has worked so well that I have put down a few more spots.  I am hoping I wont have to dig at all to plant.  The worst case is I have to scrape up what hasn't decomposed  break out the tiller like I would have had to do in the same old traditional way.  The way it looks I don't think that will be the case.  Weeds that grow from the hay will be surface weeds trick is to pull them before they take hold.  But so far not a single weed or blade of grass.   

You can aways use that tarp for other things if need be.  Like maybe a cover over your garden area so you can work out of the rain.  Or soil warmer to get a jump on the spring planting.

Oh my gosh what a hubby one that listens !! You lucky lady you!! :D

Offline Roundabouts

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Re: winter "tarping" of garden area?
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2011, 07:37:21 AM »
Oh I should say that this time around I just left the grass between my beds.  It was so much easier to just mow than trying to weed and mulch between the beds.  I also mulched inside the beds with second cut straw.  Almost no weeds cut back on water needs.  When we mowed the grass between the beds we just let it blow onto the gardens.  Compost and mowing in one step.  So far this has worked much better for me than any weed cloth or plastic. 

Offline Dawgus

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Re: winter "tarping" of garden area?
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2011, 02:28:30 PM »
*sigh* HOW many years have I been telling you to get a stirrup hoe? 3? 4? That's it. No coffee for you UFC.

Offline Ohio Woman

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Re: winter "tarping" of garden area?
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2011, 03:58:11 AM »
Thank you for the input guys.
Except Dawgus... he's withholding coffee. ;)
I had not bought one yet because I had not seen them in the local stores except one where it was outrageously priced. I recently spotted one at gardener supply at a much more friendly price so I knew the accountant would cave for the purchase. Now that I force the whole family to help with the weeding {especially after last year} he is more understanding on why I NEED a new tool. lol. Now that I think of it, I have been begging for a greenhouse about a decade now. Wonder what I can do to make him see it as a need as well...
What makes it even more hurtful is I found out Mr.J from across the street has had the exact one I want to buy sitting in his garage untouched for about 3 yrs! Then tells me when I get mine, he'll put his up. lol. MUST find a way to "play" this in my favor with the accountant. I'm still shaking my head over the storage of that greenhouse. Dear God Man! HOW can you just let it sit all those years?!
dawgus~ see you for coffee after I get the kids off to school. I need some pointers on how to make this a need a non gardener would agree with. lol.