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by jasminchantal on March 07, 2006 03:14 AM
Hello everyone!
I am very sorry if this is not the right topic (maybe I need to go to the "newbie" section) but I would love to get some help on the preliminaries regarding starting a garden.

I am 19, going to get married soon - and starting my life. And I want to start a garden in the front of the house.

Now, this garden "area" which is the designated area is COMPLETELY overtaken by weeds and wildflowers. It is NOT attractive. The situation honestly looks very daunting.

I am wondering if it possible to just get a total herbicide and just kill EVERYTHING off. And then let it recover over time. Once the plants have died.. can I wash out the rest of the poison for a few weeks. Then go on to add composte, and try to create the normalized pH again and everything? Oh is it a complete no-no to do this? I think of it as a total garden-cleanse. [gabby]

Hopefully I am wording the question properly.
This question is probably so "ignorant" it probably hurts! But I had to ask.

**oh I forgot to mention... I have tried "weeding" the area before. It's a complete disaster!!!
by Dixie Angel on March 07, 2006 04:23 AM
Congratulations, Jasminchantal, on your upcoming marriage and welcome to The Garden Helper...

As for your problem with weeds and such, could you weed-eat everything down? If so, I would try doing that then covering your garden area with plastic to bake the weed seeds that are left. After a few weeks, you could remove the plastic, build up your soil, and then plant what YOU want there.

I am sure someone else will be along shortly to help with your questions...


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by Longy on March 07, 2006 05:07 AM
Hi Jasmine, don't be daunted. At 19 you have plenty of time to learn.
I agree to cut the weeds and wildflowers down to make it more manageable, use a whippersnipper or just a lawnmower but then instead of covering with plastic, i'd go over the whole area with a mattock or spade and work the stuff into the soil. (The soon to be spouse will, i'm sure, be only too happy to help out here;-) That will start off the organic matter, aerate and it will improve your soil. You'll also get to look at the soil and smell it and see if it is clayish, sandy etc. Now, you will have seeds in that dugover bed, so in order to prevent them germinating, i'd immediately cover the whole area with an organic pelletised chicken manure at about a handfull to the square yard or a little heavier. Then cover this with compost and manures, blood and bone meal, whatever is available in your area. Best thing you can get is straight sheep manure and compost. Put this down as thick as you can. 6 inches is fine but if you can't get the volumes then less is OK. Then i'd get a load of mulch, whatever is available. Straw, or spoiled meadow hay etc. Woodchips are OK but take a longtime to break down. You want this stuff to last only one season really. Anyway, whatever you can get which is cheap. Put this down about 6 inches thick. It'll smother the weed seeds and get the soil life moving. Give the area a good watering afterwards. You can plant a few weeks later so once this preliminary work is done it would be a good time to germinate some seeds, depending on what you want to plant. By the time they're ready to plant out, the soil will be humming with life.

By spraying with a herbicide, you would be detracting from the soil by killing the existing plantlife. It's a waste of a resource in my opinion, even though they are weeds, they are an organic resource if used properly. Also, any seeds will ot be killed by glyphosate so they'll come back later. You'll also defer being able to use you garden for a month or so while you wait for the poison to work. And it looks like crap to have a dead garden of weeds in front of the house. The method described above can easily be done in a weekend once the materials are on site and is quite cheap to carryout if you look around for local stuff. I've done it a few times and it really gets the soil going.
If you can, see if you can get a Ph test kit and check if your soil is sour. It may need a dressing of lime after digging the weeds in if this is the case.
Good luck. Don't hesitate to ask more questions on here. Lots of good info to be had.

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The secret is the soil.

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