Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Lots of folks have stopped by the garden to see what is going on and mention how much they miss being able to watch the Eco-Goats chow down on all those invasive weeds. Many of our visitors have also asked us how the weed management is going and what on earth we are doing with all those plastic tarps. And the answer is, well, we are trying to prevent a resurgence of weeds!
Solarization means different things in different aspects of gardening. It can be used to warm soil for early planting. It can be a non-chemical technique to control plant pathogens such as fungi, bacteria, nematodes and other pests. For our purposes, it is an attempt to prevent regrowth of weed seeds and seedlings.
For the best results, we would need those tarps to create about 140F degrees of heat to suffocate weeds. Last week we were somewhere around 98F degrees. Campus experts have weighed in regarding clear versus dark tarp and commended our efforts but warned us that our success will be limited by our climate and our best bet is to look forward to construction disturbance of weed roots. As always, we remind ourselves, volunteers, supporters and critics that this is a living classroom and we are aiming for progress, not perfection. As long as we can keep up this energy and enthusiasm we trust we can outshine any hurdles in our way: be them Canada Thistle or that pesky (yet very cute) groundhog.