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bindweed and quackgrass holding me back

 
gardener
Posts: 2841
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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I have had bindweed for years, it was readily smothering  indeterminate tomates, grape vines, hardy kiwi, mint, jchokes,raspberries, Rose Of Sharon,etc.
This year, it's hardly around.
Why? Chickens.
They don't seem to like the adult plants but their scratching and pecking has destroyed every annual plant they can get to.
I'm growing onions,garlic and comfrey in milk crate "tractors" ,and annuals under snowfence and pvc frames.
Some bindweed shows up in the franes, but I pull it and throw it to the chooks.
This is how i plan to replant the whole yard in chicken forage.
My wife is just wanting greenery,having suffered through  a back yard made barren by my massive junk...collection,which is being relocated.
 
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We have tried everything we have at our disposal to get rid of quackgrass. It's because the land was neglected for at least 80 years. No one would try to deal with it which gave it a life of its own. I have tried everything. I have seen it grow under cardboard with wood chips piled on top of it in the heat of summer. By fall, which was 9 months after we put that down, it was still green underneath all of that. It was very disheartening. But we have tried for 8 years. We do not have money for cover crops, or a bulldozer, or machinery of any kind to try to pull it out. We would lose all of our top soil to pull it out. Then I'd have to pay to have top soil back in. That's expensive and sad. We have fantastic top soil.
I'm watching to see how people are dealing with this - that land back there used to be a living orchard, this area was - and people chopped them down because I guess they figured the horse or cow couldn't find their way around the trees.
So I believe the land is sad, and has just grown out of control. The best time to remove it is in February when it's just become unfrozen. It comes right now. It would take ten to 20 people to remove the entire area of it. We are trying wood chips and card board but it's nasty stuff, the smallest hole and it will grow.
Disappointed and frustrated,
Cat
 
pollinator
Posts: 715
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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I've been working with quackgrass for 5 years and there is no sign of it going away. I can dig the stuff out by deep turning the grow beds but that only triggers the germination of  a gazillion wild buckwheat seeds dormant in the soil, followed next spring by a fresh crop of quackgrass. And it destroys the soil structure.

If I sheet mulch I get about 1 growing season in before the quackgrass punches through an entire newspaper. If I deep mulch with hay it just keeps on coming.

For annual beds I really am at a loss about what to do about it. I'm coming to the conclusion that I will simply have to pull the stuff until one of us dies.
 
master pollinator
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Location: 4b
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Nick Kitchener wrote:I've been working with quackgrass for 5 years and there is no sign of it going away. I can dig the stuff out by deep turning the grow beds but that only triggers the germination of  a gazillion wild buckwheat seeds dormant in the soil, followed next spring by a fresh crop of quackgrass. And it destroys the soil structure.

If I sheet mulch I get about 1 growing season in before the quackgrass punches through an entire newspaper. If I deep mulch with hay it just keeps on coming.

For annual beds I really am at a loss about what to do about it. I'm coming to the conclusion that I will simply have to pull the stuff until one of us dies.



Quack grass is hard to deal with.  The way I have handled it is to smother it for as long as it takes to die with heavy sheets of rubber (pond liner) or cardboard or carpet or whatever wherever I want a garden to be, plus a foot or so extra all the way around.  It can take a year or more, but I leave it until everything under it is completely dead.  Then I fold in the sides of the smother-material about 6 inches and plant a border of comfrey all the way around, about 6 inches apart.  Let the comfrey come up and get at least a few inches tall before you remove the smother-material.  During that time, keep the quack grass pulled from between the comfrey.  Once the comfrey is established, it should make an area of protection around the garden bed that will keep the quack from growing back in from the sides.  After the comfrey is growing well, you can pull off the smother-material and plant the area immediately.  If you used cardboard, you can just pile compost or soil on it and plant right in it.  I try to keep everything covered with wood chips from then on, but if you don't have wood chips, just try to keep some kind of mulch or something growing in it all the time.  It worked really well for me.

My bindweed went away as my soil got better, so I can't really comment more on that.
 
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