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Kelp Mulch & How to get rid of horsetails

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  • Kelp Mulch & How to get rid of horsetails

    I started building a 18' x 15' raised bed garden last summer. I have the logs laid out, they are only 10" high so I dug down about another 8" for a total garden depth of 18". This spring I plan to line the bed with typar (road fabric) before I fill it with soil, thinking that it would keep future horsetails out-- also going to put a 24" border of wood chips around the garden to further keep them at bay.

    This is all great for the future but my problem comes in here-- The only soil accessible on my property to fill the raised bed with is FULL of horsetails and their rapidly reproducing, tuber root babies. I've considered...sifting them out (eeak! probably take me all summer). Burning the soil, but that would sterilize it rendering it pretty useless for this summer also. My latest idea is to mulch them out with seaweed/kelp. My thinking is that the kelp is dark so it would still let the soil warm up, it's full of good nutrients, and if I get it on thick it might just smother out the horsetails. I am kind of worried it will attract slugs, or keep the soil too moist though. Any advice on horsetails or kelp/seaweed mulch?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    I don't like the typar personally. I used it under raised beds and extended out between the beds. When we decided to move the garden area, what a PIA. And, I still had lots of weeds and horsetails. Our best solution was to use the square foot gardening method to choke our some weeds and spend 1/2 hour or so every day hand pulling. I won't use the typar again, but I will use Mel Bartholemew's square foot gardening system.

    Another thought on your garden size. We made 4x4 beds untill I got the brainy idea of making them 4x8 (saved a 4 ft 2x10). The 4x4 was far superior. Easy to manage, easy to weed and never had to compress the soil trying to reach a weed.
    Last edited by Michael; 02-22-2009, 19:59. Reason: bed size added

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    • #3
      horsetail

      I tried sifting the soil for raised beds and it slowed them down but was very labor intensive. And in two years had them again anyway. I put the plastic under the dirt to try and keep them out too. and they just grew around the plastic and wiggled their way up through. So if you find out how to really get rid of that stuff let me know! I have coils of it growing in my totally dark crawl space trying to find a way to the light. I mean 50 ft. long! the stuff is crazy!:eek:

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      • #4
        Horse Tail....

        Bad stuff.You'll never get rid of it.The base of the plant originates in hell I think.It survived the ice age. I like your cloth Idea or maybe tyvek.Not sure how long that would last.I have 4x6 raised beds to get away from my gopher problem.I have 1/8" wire cloth on the bottoms.I also have reg garden space, and the shot gun fixes gophers there.Like hunting whitetails...take my chair and just wait.I would sift my soil.Anything that makes it's way through a wire mesh will be small enough to pull right out.Good luck.GR

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        • #5
          more info....

          This is interesting....
          http://www.swansonsnursery.com/PDF/1...Horsetails.pdf

          or you could go with the flow....
          http://www.gardenguides.com/how-to/t.../horsetail.asp

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          • #6
            Originally posted by grcg View Post
            Thank-YOU! The Swanson Nursery article makes complete and perfect sense. In short.. the end of Horsetails in my garden will signal that I have achieved a nice healthy plot of soil to grow a super garden!
            And in addition I should be able to make some side dough potting up and ebaying the other 20 acres of lovely Equisetum for "garden designers in search of high concept or minimalist designs" Sweet!

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