Weed solarization goof?

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I live in SE NC, where normal weather conditions are fairly mild- can go from mid 20's to hot, in the 80's, during the winter. This winter has been a tad different... It's in the teens, with snow and ice on the ground, and I'm not familiar with this type of weather. So:

Now, I have a good sized garden covered in clear plastic (got it for free, btw) to solarize the weed seeds of a particulary nasty outbreak of pig-weed that were a bonus with a few loads of turkey poop.

Everything was going along fine, the ground was wet when I covered it, the sun shone and the hoped for "death temp"- 140*, looked like it was on the horizon.

Enter snow, ice, cold temps. The plastic WAS holding the heat, because the only place NOT covered in snow and ice, WAS the garden under plastic. Around here, we start planting "summer" crops in late April. Do I need to pull up the plastic and do it again later? I gotta control this pig-weed. Help.

-- Sylvia (slydy@intrstar.net), January 28, 2000


When we lived in central Arkansas, we had a particularly nasty annual plant that produced a wicked burr that would stick to shoe soles, wool, fingers,etc. and Bermuda grass that was the most invasive stuff I ever saw. To have the garden cleared enough of these bains, we had to solarize every year and then mulch with something impervious like stacks of paper feed sacks. Even so by the end of the summer, the bermuda was back, having penetrated the sacks as they decomposed in one season. Anyway, we would put on the plastic as early as possible, leave it 6-8 weeks then remove it, plant and stand back before the "weeds" caught us. Since you won't plant until April and the weather is so nasty in your part of the world right now, I would just leave it until you are ready to plant. What else are you going to do in the meantime? You folks in NC have caught it in the last several months. My thoughts and sympathies are with you.

-- Marilyn Dickerson (rainbow@ktis.net), January 28, 2000.

Thanks, Rainbow, you have a point- what else am I gonna do right now? I didn't mention this in the first post, but what I was worried about was helping the weed seeds, by keeping them covered with the plastic- like their own private weed greenhouse. I don't know nuthin about long spells of freezing temps and their effect on weeds! Heat, humidity; those things, I know.

Yeah, the weather here recently has been interesting. Next is the plague of locusts, I guess. Maybe, I shouldn't have said that...

-- Sylvia (slydy@intrstar.net), January 28, 2000.

we are in the NW corner of illinois and are way to familiar with red rooted pigweed. If you have the same variety as here, one thing you could do is eat the young plants in the spring. It is a deep rooted plant and gets 5 feet tall if left to mature around here.Dont know about solarization but the seed heads are goat and sheep treats here. Pigweed is in the amaranth family and has a lot of mineral in it, but it really is a formidable opponet!

-- mike (mstydale@aeroinc.net), January 28, 2000.

Sounds like the same plant. Oh, well, I've been trying to justify getting a couple of brush goats! Now, I have to scavenge some more fence.

Does you know if the seeds can be used like amaranth? Thanks for the tip about the young greens, too.

-- Sylvia (slydy@intrstar.net), January 29, 2000.

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