We recently created six 5 X 20 Hugelkuture beds and we thought we did it right until we got to the straw. We put compressed straw on top of the mounds, and then planted--now we have grass sprouting up in the beds! All that work! Arrrrgh!
We have veggie starts showing through (corn, beans, snap peas so far) but what can we do to mitigate --or is this a lost cause and we need to start over? Suggestions MOST appreciated.
Not a huge problem my friend. I’ve encouraged weed and grass growth in mine. Wait until it gets a little bigger and chop n drop. The other option is to sheet mulch with cardboard and plant. If the cardboard is soaked it will go on nice and snug. If it were mine I’d chop the grass in the small area I wanted to plant and let the grass grow until larger. Then I’d weed whack and let it drop.
Good looking bed by the way.
I apologize. I thought I read transplants. Since you’ve direct seeded try to clip the grass down around the seedlings to stunt. Once the seedlings get ahead of the grass you can take your time with chop n drop. Sorry, I’ll read better next time.
If it's growing from straw, it's probably pretty much all annual grain seed that's sprouting. As long as you don't let it go to seed this year and you get killing frosts over the winter, it won't come back next year. Keep it clear around your transplants until they get a bit bigger, and chop and drop the rest as you have time. The roots will help hold the soil in place.
Also, a lot of it is probably sprouting in the straw rather than the soil, which makes it easy to pull out or dislodge enough that it'll dry out and die quickly.
Most of the time when seeds in straw sprout they're very easy to pull out as long as you get them when they're fairly small. I've had to yank them up from time to time when I've used straw as mulch. I would just go through and pull them. Even with the amount shown in the picture it shouldn't take that long to do.
Just drop them as you go and they should dry out and die quickly.
Cultivate abundance for people, plants and animals - Wild Homesteading
I have the same thing every time I buy a bale of straw. Or hay. I get them mixed up. I'm a little relieved when I see that because it means there aren't herbicides.
So what you have there my friend, is hay. Or straw.
Easy to pick off by hand. But I hear you, three 20' beds? I wouldn't want to weed that.
So lay down wet paper grocery sacks, old canvas cloth, burlap, whatever weed barrier you can find. Poke holes to plant. Mulch heavily. After the winter, take all that up and mix the organic stuff together, leaving it alone as much as you can, then plant back over it.
I had the same problem. I was so upset. I finished my hugel last August and my chickens kept removing all the top layer soil. I finally gave up and put a fence around the hugel. Re-topped it with soil, covered it with straw, and started planting. It wasn't long before the straw started sprouting. like you I thought it was grass until I pulled one and saw the seed. I also sought advise from the knowledgeable people of permies and got pretty much the same advise. When the (I will call it straw, because I don't know what it is) gets about 12 to 18 inches tall I cut it at soil level. This sounds overwhelming, but for me I had gourds and pumpkins planted in my hugel last fall and they have come back this spring. They have managed to smother out most of the straw, I only have a couple of little clumps at this point. I don't really want a hugel full of gourds and pumpkin this time of year, so I use it like a living mulch, and chop and drop the leaves that crowd the veggies I want on the hugel. What seemd like a disaster in the beginning is working out well. Some of the gourds have grown out of the fence, and the chickens are eating the baby gourds, so it's a win win. I'm sure what ever you decide to do things will work out. Good luck to you.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” — Abraham Lincoln