Country Garden Weed Prevention & Diseased Trees

Asked March 26, 2019, 1:31 PM EDT

Hello folks, Two years ago the family and I made the move to a country home in Sibley County. We are nestled in between agriculture land and have a tiny woods on the property. Last year, we planted quite a few rows (30' x 20' & 20' x 20' plots) of various crops. The problem we ran into is that both plots were overrun by weedgrass, thistles and other various weeds. Most of the crops managed to survive, but it was difficult to harvest and ugly to boot. We want to try a cost effective way to prevent weeds this year, but answers are hard to come by. After tilling, the method we are looking at is to lay cardboard down until it's time to plant. We'll then pull up enough cardboard to make rows and plant the crops. 1. Is there a good time to start the tilling and laying cardboard process (April? May?) in Minnesota? 2. Is there anything else we should be doing, I understand this won't kill ALL the weeds, but I don't want the mess it was last year! 3. We are doing pumpkins, beans, onions, tomatos, sun flowers, etc. Is there a rule of thumb for how to organize the rows? 4. The cardboard itself, do we need to worry about the ink running off or other environmental impacts associated with cardboard? The other question is related to the inherited "diseased" trees. Much of our wooded area is pine trees (back row), weed trees, and others (?). The bigger/older trees are rotten. Many have fallen since we've moved in, and I'm concerned that the rest will soon follow. I've also noticed a major problem with the weed/vine that "strangles" the trees. Is there something I can do now, should I be thinking of how I would keep it going for the future? I know some of the questions may lack necessary information. Feel free to call me at: 952.210.2270 Thank you, Bill & Ashlee Cradick

Sibley County Minnesota vegetable gardening

1 Response

Wow, I think you have about 8 questions, I will try not to miss any. The most effective way to control a heavily infested plot is to kill the weed seedlings with Roundup and then mulch. Thistle is very difficult to eradicate. Tilling especially tilling in a couple of inches of compost is beneficial but also exposes more weed seeds to light and triggers germination of more seeds. Once the ground is dry enough to till cardboard mulch can be put down. Mulching heavily between rows does provide good weed suppression. Cardboard is a good option and environmentally friendly. Inks were replaced with soy based inks years ago so one no longer has to be worried about heavy metal contaminants. The strangling vine should be cut off at the bottom as soon as it starts to leaf out and the cut surface painted with Roundup. It will be almost impossible to dig it out with out damaging tree roots. Rotted logs provide a lot of habitat and new trees will come up, This can take years so if you wish more privacy or a windbreak I would work to establish trees in a section that can be mulched and the young trees given protection from deer and rodents and rabbits. Onions and beans should not be planted next to each other. Pumpkins are going to take over so give them lots of room and tomatoes need lots of water and vegetable fertilizer, so do pumpkins, beans and onions don’t need any.