Is this the ultimate organic remedy for perennial weeds?

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John Yeoman
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Is this the ultimate organic remedy for perennial weeds?

Postby John Yeoman » Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:15 pm

Has anybody else tried this totally organic remedy for perennial weeds that just don't succumb to any other method - even fierce proprietary weedkillers?

I once read in an old gardening book circa 1917 that to get rid of perennial weeds such as horsetail (Equisetum arvens), thistles, bindweed, etc, without chemicals, you simply have to sow turnip seed - very thickly.

Buy it in bulk from a farm supplier - not a garden centre - and it's very cheap.

You won't get any edible turnips but the root secretions kill almost all deep-seated weeds. By the third season, your soil should be clear.

Being much beset by horsetail and bindweed that resisted even glyphosate-based poisons like Tumbleweed, I tried it. And amazingly, it worked!

Please let me know if you've tried this. And tell me - was it just a fluke?
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Re: Is this the ultimate organic remedy for perennial weeds?

Postby Johnboy » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:24 am

Hi John,
Does this method work on Couch Grass? I ask because I have some beds that are to be brought back into use this coming year and they are, in places infested with Couch.
BTW Horsetail needs to be thrashed to break the surfaces if spraying is to be used. I used Paraquat (no longer available) to clear Horsetail many years ago on another property but on this property have never had to deal Horsetail.
JB.
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Re: Is this the ultimate organic remedy for perennial weeds?

Postby John Yeoman » Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:43 am

I confess, I've never had a couch grass problem so I don't know if turnips would clear couch grass. But it's worth a try.

You're right that the scaly 'leaves' of horsetail are resistant to most sprayed herbicides and the leaves must be broken. (Perhaps using a Chinese rice flail? :D ). What's more, I've read that horsetail has become resistant to glyphosate in some areas of the US after repeated spraying.

Perhaps that's why turnips are effective: they attack the weed roots. I wonder what other plants, claimed to be allelopathic (toxic to other plants), might be planted against perennial weeds? For example, garlic mustard or 'Jack by the hedge' is said to be a 'killer'. And its leaves are very pleasant in salads too.
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Re: Is this the ultimate organic remedy for perennial weeds?

Postby Johnboy » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:31 am

Hi John,
Tagetes Minuta are said to be ace at clearing Ground Elder through the same process. I tried it years and years ago and was not that impressed but some people used to swear by it. Probably too impatient in those days!
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Re: Is this the ultimate organic remedy for perennial weeds?

Postby snooky » Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:16 pm

Evening JB,
I seem to recall reading somewhere that planting tomato plants amongst couch grass helps to deter it,not tried it but now that my memory has been jogged I might give it ago this year.
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Re: Is this the ultimate organic remedy for perennial weeds?

Postby Johnboy » Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:59 am

Hi Snooky,
Thank you for the information. I do use glyphosate here but these beds are not needed this year they are only to be brought on stream for next year and I try very hard not to use glyphosate on productive land.
I mainly use glyphosate to prevent the ingress of weeds from the adjoining field margins which somehow seem to grow nothing but Nettles, Thistles and Docks. I have tried growing wild flowers in the margins but the Nettles always smother them out.
The idea here is to fetch up the beds this year and green manure them and then cover with black polythene over winter until next year 2012.
JB.
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Re: Is this the ultimate organic remedy for perennial weeds?

Postby Elle's Garden » Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:05 pm

Johnboy wrote:Hi John,
Tagetes Minuta are said to be ace at clearing Ground Elder through the same process. I tried it years and years ago and was not that impressed but some people used to swear by it. Probably too impatient in those days!
JB.

Dear JB, I have not heard this before, but we are plagued with ground elder. Is it just this one variety of Tagetes that is indicated? I would be happy to give it a go in the borders as I am fond of the plants, although the slugs will probably eat them all before they get far. :lol:
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Re: Is this the ultimate organic remedy for perennial weeds?

Postby John Yeoman » Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:23 pm

The marigold variety most often recommended for pest control is the French marigold: Tagetes patula. But its reputation is based upon its control of nematodes and other soil-crawling bugs. I'm not sure if it's effective against couch grass or other weeds.

No matter, it's a beautiful plant and has an exotic musky smell that pervades the entire garden.
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Re: Is this the ultimate organic remedy for perennial weeds?

Postby Johnboy » Sat Jan 22, 2011 10:02 pm

Hi John and Elle,
We are talking about a different Tagetes for a different purpose.
The roots of Tagetes Minuta interact and kill the root system of Ground Elder.
Tagetes minuta is some what misleading in it's name as rather than being minute it grows up to 6ft tall and the minuta is referring to the flower which is a minute white flower which fails to set seed under UK conditions.
It is suggested that the Tm are grown in pots and the Ground Elder should be dug out as much as possible and the Tagetes Minuta planted out where the Ground Elder was growing.
I have not seen the seeds offered for sale for some years now but the Garden Organic Catalogue may list them so give them a try.
It is well worth trying this method although it was not particularly successful for me because I was probably too impatient.
JB.
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Re: Is this the ultimate organic remedy for perennial weeds?

Postby John Yeoman » Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:11 pm

Thanks, JB.

Sorry, I always did confuse my Minuta with my Patula :wink: That's a darn good idea. If T. minuta works against couch grass, I wonder if it would also be effective against bindweed and horsetail?

It sounds like something GardenOrganic should be looking at, by way of a member experiment.

I got my T. patula eight years ago from Seeds By Size, based in Hemel Hempstead: http://www.seeds-by-size.com/

It's a funny little place but has the most extraordinary seeds. Its web site doesn't work well but Mr Size (it really is his name) can be contacted on: 01442 260237; sales@seeds-by-size.com
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Re: Is this the ultimate organic remedy for perennial weeds?

Postby Johnboy » Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:26 am

Hi John,
I only know the use of Tagetes Minuta for the eradication of Ground Elder and have never read where it has been used against Couch Grass or any other weed other than Ground Elder.
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Re: Is this the ultimate organic remedy for perennial weeds?

Postby John Yeoman » Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:18 am

Sorry, JB. Put it down to too much elderflower lemonade late at night :wink:
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Re: Is this the ultimate organic remedy for perennial weeds?

Postby Elle's Garden » Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:30 pm

Thanks JB, I shall have a look out for it. Thank you also for the growing notes. :D
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