To keep Bermuda grass out of our vegetable garden, we’ve found this approach to work:
Establishing a Bermuda-free zone
- Determine where the Bermuda-free zone will be. This is basically where your garden is. We surround this area with a Rhizome Barrier to keep the Bermuda out. Bermuda propagates two ways – through air borne seeds, and through the roots – the rhizomes. The roots tend to stay in the top 6-8 inches of soil, but can go deeper.
- Measure the circumference of the garden. Order this much Rhizome Barrier. The Rhizome Barrier is a 2 foot wide, 60 mil plastic that is sold to prevent Bamboo from spreading. I use a product called Bamboo Shield sold by Lewis Bamboo. They have a website where it can be purchased – though sometimes I find it on Amazon with free shipping for Prime members. It comes in 100 and 50 foot lengths. Where two pieces join, purchase the clamp kit.
- Trench around the garden. This trench needs to be 18 inches deep and around 6 inches wide. It can be made with a trencher, and I’ve dug them by hand. Digging by hand is much more work.
- Install the Rhizome Barrier. It should lay slanted in the trench leaning towards the garden. This way if root hits the Rhizome Barrier, it tends to grow up where it can be cut off, instead of down where it might get below the barrier. 18 inches goes in the trench ,6 inches stays above grounds. Fill in the trench.
- Now we’ve established the area that will be kept Bermuda free. We weed eat and mow the perimeter to keep the Bermuda grass short and hopefully not going to seed.
Getting Rid of Bermuda Grass Inside the Garden
- To deal with getting rid of the Bermuda grass inside the garden
- Small patches, I soak with water until the ground is very wet. Then I go in and dig them out by hand.
- Larger areas – I mow as short as I can, then I burn it. I’m trying to set the Bermuda back as hard as I can. Once burnt, I cover in feed sacks, cardboard until I’m sure that no light can get through. I cover this with chicken manure several inches thick. Then I apply a 4 inch layer of wood chips – pine shavings from the General Store. This layer of pine shavings keeps the flies out of the manure and provide carbon for the chicken manure to use. Lastly I cover the whole area with a thick tarp and weight the ends, or bury the sides. This keeps any light from reaching the Bermuda grass. I leave this for 6-12 months – over the Sabbath Rest would be good. Any roots in the soil will decay, and when I remove the tarp, the area is ready for the BCS tractor.
- We keep a shovel in the garden. The rule is that any time you see Bermuda, you stop right then and deal with it. I’ve been giving tours of the farm and explaining the garden and have stopped even then to deal with Bermuda grass – this makes an impression on people.