One of the biggest frustrations in a garden is how fast grass can invade and take over. This is especially true in a new garden when you have just tilled the existing grass under and planted on top of it. The grass comes back with a vengeance. Saving your garden requires a lot of work, but can be done.
Grasses have hollow, segmented stems. They range from bamboo, which can grow several inches a day in good conditions, to Bermuda, which is usually the offender in our vegetable gardens. In any case, there are three ways to get rid of the grass. The first one, pull up every piece, roots and all, is very labor intensive and almost impossible to achieve. It is, however, organic and works if you really do get all the grass pulled up.
The second method is to put clear plastic over the ground and weigh the edges down with rocks or something heavy. Leave the plastic down for a month or two to bake all the weeds from the heat of the sun. This works best during the summer. Doing it in August in Texas will cook anything. This method is also organic. The downside is you have to leave the garden fallow for a month or two in order to cook all the weed seeds laying there.
The third method is to use a herbicide. Some people do not use herbicides because they believe they damage the environment. If you want a quick kill, however, herbicides will do that. The standby herbicide is Glyphosate, sold as Roundup™. It kills weeds and grass. The down side is it kills vegetable plants, too. That means you either have to use it before planting, to kill out the existing grass, or use it very carefully by just treating the grass. This is very labor intensive.
To use glyphosate to kill grass, you must wait until the soil temperature is at least 60-65 degrees. Then you spray the grass to wet it. The grass absorbs the poison, and transfers it to the roots. The poison kills the roots. This takes about two weeks. For very thick grass, you may have to apply a second spray at this time to kill anything the first spray didn’t get. At this point, you can till the dead grass under and use it as organic matter to help the soil.
Grass is hard to control in a garden. Any way you go about it is labor intensive and not much fun. However, once your patch is truly grass free, you will have a much easier time keeping weeds from coming back and smothering your vegetable plants.
For more help gardening, buy my book, “Preparing a Vegetable Garden From the Ground Up.” Available in print or eBook, this book walks you from choosing the site of your garden all the way through what to do after the harvest. Buy a copy for yourself or a friend today!