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Double Dig, step 2: WEEDS

2 April 2012

Bermuda wire grass is my bane.  Jeavons says loosening the soil with the spading fork and removing weeds takes 1 to 2 hours per 100 square feet.  This bed is currently 78 square feet and it took me 3 or 4 hours just to loosen with the spading fork.  I’ve spent at least 8 additional hours solely removing the wire grass from the soil and I’m still not done.  I guess Jeavons didn’t have Bermuda wire grass in his test beds in Palo Alto.  There has got to be a better way to deal with this.

I let the soil sit for a day after loosening it, and now I’m taking a bow rake (metal tines that don’t bend) and sorting the grass from the soil.  Once I get a clump of wire grass, I shake it out or knock it against the spading fork to break the roots and release the soil.  If I didn’t do this and I instead just removed the matted wire grass along with the soil around its roots, I’d be removing the entire top 4 inches of soil from the garden.  The wire grass holds the soil together that well.  I guess it would be great for preventing erosion, but it’s really slowing down my digging process.  If I leave the roots in the bed, they will quickly sprout again and take over the whole bed.  I’m going to try something different for the second bed, but I don’t know what.  I’m considering covering it with a tarp for a week to kill the grass, but I’ve heard that can also damage the ecosystem of the soil itself.  Any suggestions?

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