couch or crab grass showing up in year #2 no dig

Community Community Garden Problems Weeds couch or crab grass showing up in year #2 no dig

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  chris 4 years, 10 months ago.

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    Hey Charles,

    I’m having a lot of Couch or Crab grass showing up in year #2 of my no dig system and wondering if you may have any insight into this and how I might get rid of it?

    I had purchased a compost/top soil mix in year #1 to form my beds.

    In year #2 I purchased in 5 yards of good quality compost and put on the beds.

    My growth has been great and I’ve been turning beds over 2-3 times this year but in the past couple weeks the crab grass situation is starting to really show itself.

    Interesting enough the compost I made myself with my chicken manure, seaweed & scraps is not showing as much crab grass pressure as the areas I spread the purchased compost (but still shows some crab grass).

    Any ideas on how to eradicate this issue before it gets out of hand?

    Also I’ve been composting these grasses.



    Seegull it sounds like you perhaps still have this grass in your pathways?
    Or did not quite mulch it out in year one – can you post a photo?
    It is vital to be thorough in both mulching perennial weeds and then removing any regrowth, in year one for most weeds, longer for bindweed and horsetail, until the parent root is exhausted and dies.
    If there are perennial weeds in paths, they will recolonise the beds, so paths need mulching as thoroughly as beds.
    I wonder also if your crab grass is more vigorous than UK couch grass which is Elymus repens.



    Thanks for the help Charles. My pathways were mulched with Salt Marsh Hay (I’m on the coast) in the spring but I don’t lay any cardboard underneath. I have a feeling that it may be jumping in the beds from the paths. I’m attaching the photos here.

    You can see the carrots aren’t so bad, there’s also a photo of my peppers and some beets in the beds. I’m growing on 30 in wide by 20ft beds.

    We also had an epic rain event here a couple weeks back (5.5 inches in one night) so you can see the sandy soil making its way in some of the beds.

    Your newest Youtube video is excellent and I’m still very dedicated to No Dig in my 1/5 acre garden.

    I put a couple bonus shots of of some fantastic Chioggia Beets I multi sowed this year. Been having great results this year – the crab grass and rabbit explosion has been my only complaints.



    Thanks for the photos Seegull and I reckon there was still a little in the paths plus perhaps a few roots in some beds.
    To be 100% rid of perennial weeds like this, utter dedication (!) is required initially, to remove any new leaves before they can feed the roots.
    The grass in your photos is very healthy and reestablishing, so I would cardboard after clearing your crops.
    It’s still a lot easier than digging!



    Thanks Charles – I’ve been pulling up just about every one of these that I can right now but it is quite a job.

    Are you saying cardboard the beds or just the paths after I pull my crops?

    Last year I did an experiment where I covered my beds with seaweed on one block, left one uncovered, put a cover crop of turnips & winter rye on another & added just my compost to the other.

    The seaweed block and compost block did the best over the winter and had less weeds this year.

    I was thinking of adding a cover crop of mustard this fall on the beds (your recommendation in one of the books) – then adding about 5 yards of compost on the beds this fall (except my radicchio and chicories) once it has died back, instead of in the spring like I did last year.

    Do you think that is a good strategy? or should I cardboard & add the compost. Since it is 1/5 acre that is going to be a lot of cardboard.

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