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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While it may be a bit late this year for yu to do it next year this time you will be happy. In my never ending quest of scrounging up materials and junk, I came across two largew swimming pool covers. They are like a super heavy duty tarp with nylon strap and spring tensioners etc used to secure over a inground swimming pool over the winter months. They are a dark green color. One measures 20 x 36 and the other is 28 x 48 feet.

What I do is after all the crops are harvested and its ready to let set until next season is empty my comnpost that I acquired during the previous season on the garden, and till it all in really well. Apply an application of triple 8 fertilizer, water it all down good and then lay the tarp down over the freshly tilled garden plot, until late fall when its time to vac up the leaves etc. I then uncover the garden by rolling the covers to one side, spread out the leaves, till in and rewet it down and recover it. During the time the garden plot is covered it creates a high temp condition which is usually sufficient to heat kill any weed seeds or undesireable plants. No sunlight high heat and moisture leads to rapid decompositon of anything under these covers. The key is the darker the cover the better as it gets hotter. Other than an occassional field mouse having a totally enclosed shelter, its not been a problem with any other vermin or critters etc getting under the tarp. I lay the cattle panels I use to support my pole beans and peas etc on top of the cover as well as a few lengthsof rebar or the steel T type fence posts and its sufficient to keep it from blowing off, but not all that much to move to uncover, and all the items used to hold the cover down are right there in the garden ready for use the next year. Even on cold days, it generates a lot of heat under those covers so its working all year round for you to kill seeds etc. In the spring, I uncover it, and its usually perfect to retill, and its not soaking wet, nor has any nutrients leached out over the winter months with rain etc. The ground under the covers is usually much warmer than surounding ground is and it leads to earlier gemination of seeds you plant. I have done this for a few years now, and it has reduced any weeding to a bare minimum, and each year redundant weeds are less and less. I always plant as early as possible, usually taking achance on late frosts, so my garden gets a good head start, and utilize raised beds, and by the time any weed seeds may find their way into this basically sterilized plot of a garden the garden plants already have a stronghold on growing and usually crowd any weeds etc out. The last few years have truly been pretty enmjoyable and virtually weedfree gardening.

So look for any good heavy duty dark colored tarps. Plastic could be used but its hard to hold down and becomes brittle in weather after some use.

The way it looks we are just days from having some fresh corn, and odds are by the 4th of July should have cantalopes and melons ready. Tomatoes are huge and starting to turn red. Cukes are growing fast and furious, as are the pole beans. The limas are about finished as are the peas. Finished pulling up the lettuce and spinache the other day and fed what went to seed to the chickens and peafowl. Been constantly raiding the potatoe hills and are down to three or four hills right now. They are justy too good to go without especially when added to a mess of snap beans and a bit of apple, and some bacon butts or ham hocks added.
 

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Great piece Chipmaker! :thumbsup: That is a very good idea. I have never thought about trying something like that but I will try keeping my eye out for something like that and give it a try. I have been covering my garden with leaves and then chop them up as much as I can with the MMM on the tractor and then spread them out to cover the garden for the winter. I till them all in the ground in the spring. I think your idea give the materials a lot more time to compost.
 

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Great idea!! I may try that. Ever do a true test? Like cover half the garden, and leavde the other half undone? Kinda woundering what the diferance would be.
 

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Originally posted by Ingersoll444
Great idea!! I may try that. Ever do a true test? Like cover half the garden, and leavde the other half undone? Kinda woundering what the diferance would be.
You should test that theory this year and let us know next spring:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Originally posted by Ingersoll444
Great idea!! I may try that. Ever do a true test? Like cover half the garden, and leavde the other half undone? Kinda woundering what the diferance would be.
No, not really, because every year the amount of weeds has diminished dramatically that very few that do not amount to anything emerge in my garden now, ecept for those that may have runners from a bordering area that was uncovered. Its enevitable that seeds and root pieces will be gotten in the garden no matter how diligent you are, but to kill the vast majority up front nd before hand is a good start. There is a great deal of heat built up under the tarp which is sufficient to kill any seeds before the sprout or kill any already sprouted stuff.

Previously I was always applying pre emergent and post emergent herbicides, which IMHO are good, have a proper place but no matter how safe they claim to be I prefer not having it in my garden. I still buy items like Roundup or Grasskilz but its for areas that I am not growing veggies etc, mainly alonbg the fence line under the hot wire to keep it from shorting out during the summer growing season.

In greenhouses its common for them to heat soils to "sterilize" or in other words kill any seeds in it, so your actually doing the same thing, but only it takes longer, which is not really a big deal since fall and winter the garden is idle anyhow. The hotter it gets outside the hotter it is under that tarp and the better it works, and also in aiding composted materials to break down faster. The bacteria in compost can withstand a lot hotter temps than seeds etc can, proff being just look at the hot manure piles which reach temps of 140 or so deg and are thriving with bacterial and other micro organisms. Just the lack of sunlight alone ill be beneficial in killing of any weeds or grasses under the tarps.
 
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