Stale Seedbed: A Secret To Weed Control


Last week on our Facebook Live video, we answered a question about weed control at Treebrook Farm.  We use a technique, called solarization or stale-seedbed, which kills weeds without chemicals.  

These pictures show silage tarps over our prepped beds.  As our beds are ready to plant, we put the plastic over the beds for 14 days or more to create a greenhouse effect.  The temperature and humidity under the tarps is high, especially as the black tarps absorb the sun’s energy.  Temperatures outside can be in the 40s and under the tarp can be in the 80s and 90s.  This forces the weed seeds to germinate.  Without sunlight the filament-stage weeds die off.  After removing the tarps, one can now plant in a nearly weed-seed-free bed.

This is a key technique for organic gardeners around the world.  We recently returned from a trip to Germany, where entire fields were covered with tarps, just like these.

Joyful gardening!

-Lucas and Elysse

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