grass over taking raised beds

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by foxmfan1, Aug 29, 2015.

  1. foxmfan1

    foxmfan1 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 16, 2013
    I have a raised bed garden used to grow vegetables. 8x8 divided into three big "boxes", right now I am weaning out of my spring/summer "harvest", i planted cucumbers, eggplant, grean beens, tomatoes, grapes, had a great cucumber, and green bean harvest, few tomatoes, and my eggplants are starting to grow now , i am in the process of moving my beds, to a different location in my backyard. I realized that in the current location, my garden was getting COOKED!! I live in TX it been over 100 for the past 3 weeks, so I plan on moving the beds to a part of my yard that gets more shade, sooner in the day. ok so quick background, I have three chickens that free range in my backyard, and yes they get "garden" privileges, they also eat alot of what I "harvest" so if you have read this far,

    im not yelling, i just wanted the question to be clear, right now my beds are full of grass, creeping in, I am sure the grass is just trying to get to the water/better soil. SO is there something I can do to try and prevent or even kill the grass to stop it from creeping into my beds when i move them. whatever it is would have to be organic, and natural, cause of my ladies

    just an fyi, I did put down a few layers of "weed" proofing material, and it extends under and about 2 feet around the sides of the beds, lol my grass is just laughing at it right now!!!, the grass is a mix of St. Augustine, and Bermuda, and its really the bermuda grass that just does not want to die!!!!

    any and all suggestions appreciated, thank you for taking the time to read and reply!!!
  2. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Since it's so hot, it's a good time for you to sterilize the soil by wetting it down and covering it with plastic sheeting and letting cook away...

    Just Google up a few of these key words 'soil sterilization' 'solar soil sterilization' or 'solarizing soil' and you should be well on your way to a how to...

    As for preventing new grass, line the beds with the weed block, no just under it roll it up the inside walls as well...
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Let It Snow Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    If I could come up with a way of keeping out the creeping grass I would be a millionaire, you can spray it, pull it, cook it, burn it, smother it, but you can't stop it's yearly creeping, it's been working on that design for millions of years, those weed barriers don't work, you just need to pick a way to maintain it. Sorry.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Ah, Bermuda grass. It’s great as a lawn cover, hay, or pasture but anywhere around a garden it is pure misery. I’ve had it send runners over five feet a few inches under the ground when I put a cover down. It makes a lot of seeds which get blown into wherever you don’t want them, a mower can really spread those seeds but wind and birds do a respectable job. Containing Bermuda grass is a never-ending job. St. Aug shares some of Bermuda’s properties.

    I find a lot of the organic methods in gardening are not 100% effective. I try to use organic methods as much as I can and some are pretty effective but a lot are more of a minimize the damage as opposed to totally stop the damage. I haven’t really found anything organic or otherwise that totally controls Bermuda grass, either in my two raised beds, my landscaping beds, or the main garden. It is a constant battle.

    First you need to try to eliminate it where you are planting. I’ve tried the solar thing with some limited success. When I tried it for my strawberry bed I put a lot of organic material under the cover so it would compost and waited a year before I uncovered it. There was not anything actively growing under there but there were runners from Bermuda crisscrossing the area, especially a few inches underground. So I dug up the entire area and sifted it as best I could to remove all the parts of the runners. All it takes is to miss one bit of root and it will start from that but that isn’t too hard to pull out as long as you get it early. For my raised beds I dug the area up before I installed the raised bed, trying to remove all the Bermuda I could. Just get as much out as you can. The solar thing did make that easier.

    Next think barriers. Keep the Bermuda away from the area of your raised bed. From what I’ve seen five feet is not enough but it is a huge help. A relatively efficient way for me has been to use landscape cloth covered with mulch. I’ve had Bermuda send runners a long way under landscape cloth and even send shoots through the woven stuff. If you use the woven type of landscape cloth those runners can weave themselves through the weave and be a pain to get out. Also the mulch will compose or rot if you use a natural mulch like straw or wood chips. That gives a great soil for those runners to grow in or seeds to sprout. I’ve used wood chips as mulch but find I have to replace them every year. I basically pull up the landscape cloth, dig out any runners going under it, put in new wood chips, and have mostly composted wood chips that I use for mulch/fertilizer around my trees where I don’t really mind Bermuda grass. If I use it in my garden it’s full of Bermuda seeds from mowing.

    I have had some success digging around the outside of the base a few times a year to remove any Bermuda runners. The areas I do this aren’t that large so it isn’t that much work.

    In non-food areas like an iris bed I use a grass killer, a product that targets grass but not any broad-leafed plant. Looking at the restrictions and all that, that stuff is nastier than Round-Up. I would not use that stuff anywhere around anything to do with food, including nut and fruit trees. I just gave up. I can’t keep Bermuda out of the iris bed or certain landscaping non-food areas any other way without devoting a lot of time to it and damaging my fingers digging it out of my gravelly soil.

    Something in the garden that helps a lot with controlling grass is mulching where you can. I spread paper everywhere and cover that with mulch, usually wheat straw, to hold the paper down. That paper greatly reduces the weeds and grass from poking through and when it does it is pretty easy to dig out. I leave that on all winter instead of growing a cover crop. That stops the weeds and grass from getting a start and makes planting so much easier in the spring. If it is broken down enough just turn it under. If not broken down enough rake it to the side and use it as mulch again.

    This probably doesn’t sound real encouraging to you. St Aug can be a pain but Bermuda is worse. There is nothing I know of that you can do one time and fix the problem forever. It is going to be a constant battle, but never let it get established. Keep up the fight. Remove as much as you can to start with and establish and maintain barriers. You don’t have to lose the fight.

    Good luck!
    2 people like this.
  5. arad2586

    arad2586 Out Of The Brooder

    May 13, 2015
    Hot Springs, AR
    If you have Bermuda grass anywhere in your yard there's pretty much nothing you can do about it, nothing works. Sigh. We constantly have to pull it out of all the flower beds all year long and it just grows right back, I like when you get the piece that doesn't break off and you pull it up and it's 6 foot long. Looks great in the yard though! Our plants are pretty much cooked too, the Arkansas sun and no rain are a bad mix
  6. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    For grass which won't quit...where I'd rather it did....I've found two things to help us here in Northern IL:

    1. Instead of putting the raised bed boards just on the ground, dig them down. Our least affected beds by grasses are 2x12's that are dug down at least 7". Then I put another 2x12 on top - both with the 12" vertically - and brace the corners, and twice in the centers with 2x4's pounded into the ground. Lots of labor - but it's worth it! That single bed has the least amount of grass in it...thistles here however are a different story. I'm not sure how deep I'd have to go to stop thistle runners. I've found them parallel to the ground a good 24" deep! ARGH!!!

    2. Double digging the entire bed after the harvest is in. So you dig a trench (weeding as you go) at least 12" deep. Then you dig a second trench adjacent to the first, and put the soil from that back into the first trench. Again. Very. Labor. Intensive. Very. If you add compost at this stage, you'll also fertilize for next year's crop! But then you end up with more soil inside the bed than before...plan ahead as to what to do with extra soil. Don't leave in a heap in the walkway - weeds will grow there! Then cover the bed with mulch - our favorite of late is cardboard with chicken bedding covering it...not necessarily the most organic option with the inks on the cardboard, but it's proven to be the hardiest against weeds. In spring, I can usually punch holes through the cardboard to plant the spring crop. If it's the early spring crops - I put newspaper (about 10 sheets in a bundle across the whole bed), as it's easier to get carrot, peas, onions and spinach through. By the time I wish to plant the warm weather crops (green peppers, tomatoes, etc), the cardboard is starting to decompose enough to make it possible to plant through. If not, I rip it out!

    I hope this's a constant battle against weeds.
  7. mother hen 13

    mother hen 13 Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 21, 2013
    south of england
    I also have a really bad problem with grass taking over rose bed vegtable garden and other flower beds. I have tried adding borders of stones,nothing stops it for long.
    I think it is one of those terrible jobs like ironing that never end.
    The worst is around the fruit bushes where it acts as a magnet for slugs and snails I think I might try bark chipings there next year.
    I have lots of oak chipings from when the cable men cut the oak tree from below the transformer. Do you think these will work as a weed supressent.
  8. Guvnah

    Guvnah Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 11, 2015
    Colorado Springs
    Consider creating a 3-foot border around the raised beds. If you decide to do that, and for immediate results, bite the non-organic bullet and spray a grass killer over a 3-foot wide area around the garden. Then put down landscape fabric and mulch. And mulch, and mulch, and mulch. Never stop.

    Sure, some will start to creep into the border, but you'll have a 3-foot head-start to head off the siege before it reaches the actual garden.

    And here's a trick for applying weed/grass killer on undesirables that are mixed in with desirable plants:

    Mix up a solution in a bucket. Put on a surgical rubber glove, and then over top of that, put on a cloth glove. Dip the fingers of your gloved hand in the bucket and apply the killer to the leaves of the plants you want killed. The glove works like a sponge. It's tedious, but accurate in its application. No overspray, because you are not spraying. And you have your other un-gloved hand to use for moving branches/leaves of your good plants out of the way when you reach in to nail the invaders.
  9. drewskimac

    drewskimac Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 7, 2014
    Siloam Springs, AR
    Here is the absolute secret to controlling the grass..... Dedicate 15 minutes every evening to plucking it, raking it, yelling at it, whatever you have to do. You aren't gonna be able to keep it out of your garden. The best way to keep it to a minimum is by maintaining it. I spend just a little bit before it gets dark every night weeding, and that is the only way I have found to keep my garden grass/weed free.
  10. arad2586

    arad2586 Out Of The Brooder

    May 13, 2015
    Hot Springs, AR
    When you have Bermuda grass, the struggle is real

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