Asked May 19, 2019, 9:53 PM EDT

We have a huge quackgrass problem in our vegetable garden and are wondering how to deal with it. It is 650 square feet. Would it be best to just work the soil with a fork and pull out all the rhyzomes we can and then pull out individuals weeds as they come in throughout the growing season, finishing with a cover crop? What cover crop would be best to use in Zone 3b in Minnesota? We have loam soil with a high water table. It is very wet in the Spring until June, especially this year. Should we not do any work in the garden until soil dries up well into June? Also wondering what to do about rhyzomes coming in from lawn surrounding the garden... right now I just mowed on the shortest setting about 4 feet out from the garden and plan on keeping it mowed this way throughout the year. Is this effective enough? Or would it also be beneficial to created a living buffer like peas or wildflowers. Does anyone do this? If so what would be best to grow as a living buffer? I don't have much money to invest. I can't afford to haul in lots of mulch and I've heard that quackgrass rhyzomes just expands like crazy through mulch anyways. I'm totally against using chemicals like Roundup.

Sorry for the many questions, but I'm new at this.

Cass County Minnesota

1 Response

An impermeable barrier of some kind is the best way to keep turf from encroaching into the garden. Keeping the grass cut short and planting living buffers such as peas or wildflowers will not be effective in the long run. Information here about keeping lawn grasses out of the garden may be useful:

It's best to completely eliminate the quackgrass before planting anything in the infested soil. This can be done without chemicals but the eradication may require tilling the soil frequently through an entire growing season. The following bulletin explains how to do this and why it may be necessary.

Please note that planting a cover crop or applying mulch is likely to be counterproductive.

Soil that's saturated should not be tilled or otherwise dug. Sandy soil drains quickly and can be dug in short order after that. This is decidedly not the case with clay and loam. Learn more here: