I’m fortunate and relieved that I’ve never been faced with the major headache of controlling an infestation of notorious quackgrass in the vegetable garden! Ron isn’t so lucky and inquired about organic methods for getting this invasive weed under control:
“Is there a way to turn a fairly large patch of land that has quack grass on it into a viable garden area with out having the grass come up and create all kinds of weeds to constantly pull? I understand that I could dig up and remove the grass first, which would be a lot of work, and I could disc it, then rototill the heck out of it and just put up with the weeding, but is there any kind of organic herbicide, or is this just wishful thinking.”
“I want to grow vegetables for the family and do not want to risk contaminating the land. The current landowners whom we will soon be renting from and sharing the property with said that they wanted to use “Round-up” first, and that the product claims you can safely grow on the land in 4-6 weeks.”
“This sounds insane to me and I have raised my concerns to the landowners in order to try and convince them to go organic. We even offered to do most of the work weeding if they forwent the Roundup. I hope you can help. Maybe a response from you might be enough to help convince them of a viable solution.”
Natural Methods for Controlling Quackgrass on the Farm or in Garden
I don’t have any experience dealing with quackgrass on the scale that Ron is dealing with, but I have no doubt that it could be managed organically. Here are a few links that may be of interest to anyone trying to control quackgrass that is taking over their field or backyard garden:
- Quackgrass Control Methods in Organic Agriculture
- Organic Noxious Weed Management for Quackgrass
- Controlling Quackgrass
The last article mentions solarization, a simple organic technique that’s easy to implement and appears to be very effective against quackgrass. Best of all it isn’t labor intensive and can be implemented with some clear plastic film, sunshine, and time. The clear plastic is laid over the soil and left in place long enough to cook any weeds, rhizomes, and seeds that are in the ground.
For those that can’t set aside the entire garden area for solarization, cultivate/till/disc part of the garden to plant in this season and solarize the remainder of it to thoroughly eliminate quackgrass over the summer months. If the process works, you could then finish up by solarizing the other part of the garden next summer.
If anyone has any direct experience in dealing with quackgrass or other suggestions for eliminating it from the garden, please chime in. Thanks.
Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts: