Thursday, August 24, 2017

Soil Solarization

Solarizing pathways in the VegHeadz  garden
Are you tired of pulling weeds, are insects demolishing your crops, do you suspect you are infested with nematodes?  One solution which lasts through a growing season is solarization. 

The VegHeadz garden has several patches of recurring nut sedge.  We've pulled, dug, covered with cardboard and mulch, all to no avail.  The nut sedge always prevails.  This is a good time of the year for solarization, so we're trying it on several patches in our walkways where the nut sedge is thickest and most persistent.  We'll keep you updated. 

Solarization consists of wetting the soil, covering the area in question with transparent plastic (ours is opaque even though the container said "clear"), sealing the edges, and leaving it to bake in the sun for six weeks.  If there are consistent days of sun for this period, much of the living matter under the plastic will be killed, including weeds, bugs, and nematodes.  For more information, access an excellent article at UF/IFAS on Soil Solarization.
Master Gardener Evelyn Gonzalez covers the edges of the plastic with
mulch to seal in the heat

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