I live in the North Island of New Zealand and have a very large vegetable garden which, with our winter becomes overrun with kikuyu grass and weed. I DO NOT want to use chemicals to rid myself of these ghastly weeds and would love suggestions as to how to kill a lot of weeds at one time and one spray. Kikuyu is an extremely hardy weed and very difficult to kill. As I do not like chemicals because of the residual factor in my vegetables I would be very grateful for any tips. Thank you for your suggestions.
Ang from New Zealand
I'm not sure you can ever be completely rid of Kikuyu Grass, but you can certainly control it. The two best non-chemical ways to control it in large areas are to smother it or to dig in physical barriers (like landscape edging) between the grass and your garden. Covering the grass with black plastic sheeting will bake it with the sun's heat and make pulling up the plant debris a breeze in the spring. You could also use thick layers of newspaper, cardboard, etc. You didn't say whether or not you grow crops during the winter, or exactly how big you "very big" vegetable garden is. If covering your entire garden with plastic or mulch isn't economically feasible, perhaps you could plant a cover crop and that would crowd out the grass.
Constructing a physical "root" barrier around all or parts of your garden may also help. For this to be effective, you need to dig the barrier in the ground so that the top slopes away from the side of the Kikuyu Grass. This will prevent the runners from diving under the barrier or climbing over the top when they start to butt up against it. If you don't want to dig in a physical barrier, you can try digging a trench 8 inches (20 cm) deep. Mound the sides of the trench up to make the barrier even taller. As the runners try to cross your "moat" they will be easy to see and whack off with a spade.
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I don't have kikuyu grass but I've had some pretty awful weeds! I just keeping digging them out - root and all. Put them in a bag and get rid of them. I now have areas of my garden where I rarely see a weed! It's taken me three years of perseverance but you can do it. And if you can find pre-emergent, sprinkle that on the ground after you weed. It keeps seeds from germinating. It won't harm your veggies, and is a very big help getting rid of your weed problem.
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