Any way you can cover the grassy areas with something like cardboard? Then a nice layer of compost/soil, and some mulch on top.
Shortly after you do that, you may want to consider planting something that will offer some cover to reduce the chance of a lot of grasses sprouting again. I personally have not tried cover cropping on my garden area but something like clover seems like a good choice for it's tough, flowers nicely for pollinators, is apparently a nitrogen fixer, etc.
I have found that a thick layer of wood chips smothers out weeds pretty good and they are surprisingly easy to pull out once they start popping. I have read that there can be some issues w/ woodchips - mainly nitrogen related - but that really depends on age of chips, condition, and thickness of the chips. I got some beans and tomatoes planted in them and they seem to be doing fine though. I do apply a little bit of my urine every couple weeks to those areas just to make sure since I used fresh chips and my soil quality underneath was pretty poor.
I get grass too. It depends on what you're growing. Squash doesn't mind and likes wandering through lawn. Tomatoes and corn should be able to out grow the lawn in both rooting depth and height and therefore not compete too much. Same with peas, if they get enough starting space. For my perennials, I mow around them and the grass seems to pull back as necessary. I use a garden knife for precision weeding when they get too close. Mulching does help snuff grass. Grass doesn't like being covered very much.
If you don't have that equipment, then pull what needs to be pulled. When restorative farming, your prepping for next year's crop, not this one. I'm not sure what your soil is like or size of your garden. Lots of animals disturb the soil. The problem is when you tractor out a whole field annually, in my opinion.
I have been battling grass in my kitchen garden for 5 years. I removed it from my garden paths, layered down whole newspapers and then covered it with woodchips. The grass emerges about 18 months later.
In the actual beds I have pulled the runners for years but it's a losing battle. So last year I sheet mulched them with a thick layer of newspaper and straw. I also dug a trench around the beds to prevent the runners coming in from the lawn. I am beginning to see grass emerging through the mulch, and when I look into the sheet mulch I find that runners are working their way inside the layers of newspaper for about 6 feet before emerging so when I pull on them, large chunks of newspaper come away with the runners.
In one area I layered about 3 ft of hay. It's the only spot where grass isn't emerging yet. Horsetail does however punch up through even that much mulch.
posted 1 year ago
I only moved into my property 2 years ago. The soil was high heavily compacted soil with some kind of woodchip mulch on it. Nothing was growing apart from a few rose plants, and none of the thousands of vegetable seeds grow.
So I dug out a lot of the soil because I wanted to make it a bit below ground level so I could then build it up with organic matter. Some plants are doing ok, but weeds and grass are growing well now. I like weeds but the grass is what scares me as I fear it’ll compete with the edibles.
For most grasses (all but the rhizome varieties like quack, Bermuda, etc.) digging down 4 inches and turning the sod will suffice in eradication, along with putting the nutrients back into the soil from whence they came.
For the rhizome grasses, there will be a recurring battle because of their nature, their roots go deeper and every node will become a plant, (think of strawberries and their runners).
mulching doesn't work on rhizome grasses as well as it does on the fine root varieties, because of that deep root and node construction.
Solarizing the soil also doesn't work so well on the rhizome grasses, again because of their root system.
On the other hand, grasses can be utilized as living mulch and they do keep soil erosion at bay.