Ground Cover

Asked September 5, 2019, 11:04 PM EDT

I have a garden that was not maintained for two years due to family health issues. The weeds and grass had taken over and I tried renovating the bed through hand cultivation. This was very slow and laborious so i reverted to applying RoundUp. I applied RoundUp, waited a week to 10 days when the weeds and grass had died then hand cultivated the bed. This was quite successful as the weeds and old grass could be removed very easily. Two questions: there are some remaining small roots and dead vegetation I was not able to 100% remove. Will this affect the germination of seeds next year? Also what is the best way to preserve the beds for planting next year? Cover the beds with paper and straw or plant a cover crop that I would cultivate into the beds next spring prior to planting seeds and strawberry plants? Thanks for your help and counsel.

Leelanau County Michigan mulching vegetable garden fallow vegetable garden

3 Responses

Hello,

The roots of some perennial weeds can resprout so, removing as many as you can find is a good idea. Either covering technique can be used. If using the mulch, be sure it is thick enough to not let any light through, so weeds sprout less. It would be of benefit to use a mulch you can turn into the soil in spring. A thick sheet of paper left undisturbed can lead to some problems with air and water exchange( see 2nd link, below).

A layer of well aged compost worked into soil is beneficial, too. Then apply your mulch cover or seed your cover crop.

These links may be of interest-

http://mccc.msu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/MO_2011_Cover-Crops-and-Green-Manure-Crops.pdf

https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/403/2015/03/newspaper-mulch.pdf

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/considerations_for_growing_backyard_small_fruit

https://extension.umn.edu/fruit/growing-strawberries-home-garden

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Thanks so much for the prompt response. The counsel is excellent and the references are of a great help. Thanks again. Chuck A

Glad this helps. Thank you for the acknowledgement!