Su Ba wrote:Welcome , Dereck!!
Sounds like you have a decent piece of land to start your project with. Congratulations. Mind telling us a bit more? Where is it located? What's the climate like? What's some of your goals -- self-sufficency? Market gardens? Permaculture homestead? Focus upon a particular crop family? Food forestry? Etc. Plus, how along are you in experience? Novice, intermediate, experienced?
Su Ba wrote:
Some grasses and weeds are notoriously difficult to smother, others are easy. So a 4" mulch layer may or may not do the trick. But as weeds return, if you chop each one as they first appear, it should not be overly difficult to control and eliminate them. Many new gardeners make the mistake of waiting too long before doing something about the returning weeds. Cardboard may or may not be the answer. I've used cardboard over grass, and while initially happy with the results, I have since abandoned the method. I found the cardboard effective to a point, then it had problems associated with it-- it got slippery during wet periods making a dangerous walking situation. Yes, I fell several times. It also didn't uniformly rot away, leaving huge chunks that I ended up removing and carrying away to a hugelpit. The wind here would kick it up and make a mess.
Su Ba wrote:
The one thing I would say NOT to do is use landscape fabric. I've never been happy with it. Plenty of people have their own horror stories about it. Once down in place for awhile it becomes a nightmare to remove. It never rots away, but it shreds, causing hours and hours of work to remove it. And contrary to the advertising, there will be plenty of weeds growing in the top mulch plus plenty of grasses growing back right up through the weedblock cloth. I've tried even heavy duty professional landscape cloth and have had grasses grow right up through it. And those grasses that fail to make it through the fabric weave their roots and shoots into the fabric, effectively gluing it to the soil. To remove glued down landscape cloth I've had to use my pickup truck to pull it up in pieces. Not a fun job.
Su Ba wrote:
Personally I've taken pasture areas and mowed them down real close to the soil. Then I run a rototiller shallowly across the top to cut the grass plants off at the soil level. The tiller is simply faster and easier than using a hand hoe to chop. I'll do this on a sunny day and have to sub dry out to uprooted grasses. The next day I'll rake off the grasses, transferring them to a compost bin. I'll cover the exposed soil with a very light mulch, just enough to protect the soil microbes.,no more than a 1/2" thick. Then I'll wait a week or two for weeds and grasses to grow back, then either chop or rototill them off. Reapply a very light mulch as needed. Then wait again for a week or two to see what sort of regrowth I have, chopping or surface tilling until the major regrow this gone. The only thing I haven't controlled this way in my farm is bermuda grass. It works for most everything else. Now with the majority of weeds and grasses controlled, I'll get on with mulching, soil amendments (after a soil testing), and gardening.