Winter weeds: thoughts on tactics

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gavin_gamble
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Joined: 07/12/2009
Winter weeds: thoughts on tactics

Late Autumn into early winter the weeds and grasses are coming thick and fast. In my newer patches, especially, it's soursob, the weedy  oxalis, which is one of the worst for me ( I suspect some of it may have come through the hot compost so no more of it to go in to the compost - the stuff tastes acidy and 'orrible anyway and even the guineas won't eat it). We all  have different situations and what I recount  below worked or seems to be working for me but may not be the best or appropriate for others.

For me   ... once the last of the pumpkins and summer tomatoes etc are cleaned out I want to get out as much of the oxalis as reasonably possible in the shortest time. I normally control weeds by scraping the loose and friable top layer with the dutch hoe (another advantage using compost and having biolgically rich soil is it's easy weed friability). But Oxalis will just come back. from it's root bulbs. (and numerous bulbets once maturing).

In my main beds I don't have much mulch layer because last summer I was having so much trouble with earwigs, slaters, slugs, etc eating so much of my strawberries, greens, early tomatoes, etc I raked out all the straw mulch and loose stuff on the surface because that's where they were all hiding out during the day. I had put a good layer of compost over the beds and planted pretty densely. I decided to top water with fixed pole twirly sprinklers daily (tank). I'll do that again. It worked better for me and stuff like pumpkins and tomatoes have a broad surface root system and I think this is why drip watering with these sorto plants was no good.

In the past I've tried mulching, covering with newspaper, etc, but the oxalis is persistent

This year I'm in the process of ploughing up between the remaining perennial and new vegies and brambles, etc  with the gardeners mattock (about $50 at Faggs I think). (Sorry for offending the "no-dig" faction).  I fork and rake out the green clumpy stuff and I'm piling up the oxalis where I can destroy en masse. (I've found and recommend the Fiskar's mulching / compost fork ($50 at Buninngs) to be a great aid.. also for picking up and handling prickly and messy stuff.

Next.. stage... compost all over the shop.

I think I'll also put a light layer of barley straw mulch over all the weeded areas except where I'm growing a green mulch for (hopefully, this year, summer vegie killer bed).  So, things gone full circle for me.. no mulch in summer, bu mulch light in winter, (but big on compost).

I feel pretty chuffed cuz I bought my first big round of straw from Woolabrai farm supply shop in the main street of Meredith for $22. But that's another story...Where I wanted to put it near my chook areas meant I took it off the trailer on a slope. Well the thing rolled off the trailer ok but then dropped and the bloody thing sort of "bounced", gained a lot of momentum, brushed me aside, knocked me to the ground, squashed my mobile with the song mp3's on it.... and took off like a crazy steam roller, like the french farmer who took a dozer to McDonalds, before crashing into the chook fence. Pam Bolton's "Little Johnny" went flapping off in great indigantaion as part of agreat chookly uproar. Ruby, the border collie, thought it was a great lark and added to the general mellee. Meanwhile, I was on the ground, winded, ...and as the general caucophany died down  I noticed my squashed mobile had randomized the MP3 song selection on to Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone"...... As I lay there I reflected on the efficacy and appropriateness of his metaphor. ...and cursed the bloody oxalis.

rebecca_hyland
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Joined: 19/06/2010
Winter Weeds

I've seen Oxalis come up through 3 inches of mulch!
We find the best time to tackle it is when it's at bulb exhaustion stage (when it's putting all it's energy into putting up its flowers) which is around June to late July, although not all plants reach the same stages together.
You can carefully dig it up or just keep removing the tops at this bulb exhaustion stage for a few years until they give up!

katie_gillett
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Joined: 07/06/2009
oxalis

that explains a lot, i never dig the bulbs up as they break up and you end up with even more oxalis the lady in the plot next door does this and has terrible oxalis

Watts
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Joined: 25/06/2010
oh dear, and I thought Oxalis

oh dear, and I thought Oxalis was a nice looking clover & ground cover that was adding nitrogen to my soil!!
guess I'm up for some weeding... :-)

katie_gillett
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Joined: 07/06/2009
oxalis

the only thing is sheet mulching and chickens, they love oxalis bulbs, well mine do, even round-up doesn't work-just keep weeding and I think if you make the soil more acid they don't like it,or it might be the other way around-not sure-just hand weed.
I had to laugh at the thought of the rolling stone straw bale. Went to the plant and removed my giant non heading broccoli, about 1m high and no heads-saved seed grrr, plant broccoli and caulis seedlings from my new job-Global Greening-only one day a week while I study. speaking of which back to revision.......

Findlay
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Joined: 25/06/2010
oxalis

Oxalis prefers acidic soil to confirm what Katie said, therefore it is a good indicator of your soil pH without even testing. It grows best in a pH of around 5 so if you can increase your soil pH using lime or dolomite and keep adding compost you will make growing conditions unfavourable and will be well on the way to removing from your garden. This wont happen over night so you will need to keep weeding it out or mulching it down. And yes chooks love the stuff!