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Thistle in the veggie garden!

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JanO
Joined: 3/25/2003
Location: Western Washington
Posts: 16
Posted: Jul/22/2006 7:13 PM PST

This being the first year here I really didn't prepare properly last fall when I cleared my garden area. There was a lot of thistle in that space and I had hoped that with a lot of weeding, etc. that I could stay on top of it in my veggie garden, and eventually be rid of it. But, I guess it's not meant to be during the growing season because it's getting the better of me. This stuff is horrible and it's next to impossible to stay ahead of. I know there has to be a way to get rid of it for good and I'm hoping that you all can help.

I'm thinking that in the fall, when I put the garden to rest for the season, that if I till everything under, spray (or drown) the whole garden area with round up, mulch, then cover with black plastic for the winter that it might kill off the thistle seed. Or should I spray, then till & mulch? Is that realistic or is there some other way to get rid of this stuff. I can't plant, due to rain and late freeze, until mid or late May. So if I keep it covered as long as possible would that kill the seeds so this stuff doesn't come back next year?

Please, I need advice from all of you seasoned gardners out there.
Whitmore1
Joined: 4/02/2002
Location: Manistee County, MI, USA
Posts: 496
Posted: Aug/04/2006 12:51 PM PST

The key word that you mentioned is "seed". Don't let the thistle go to seed. Yes, I know it can be a daunting task, but you must keep the seeds out of your veggie spot.

I got rid of some decorative thistle for the simple reason that it's seeds spread.

I'd give the black plastic over winter a try. I know it works in hotter climates such as FL and other Southern states.

The key is to get rid of the thistle flowers before they have a chance to pollinate and create seeds. You can take a few minutes and cut the flower buds off as they form. Don't weight until they open and get a chance to get pollinated.
poeticpeony blog photos
Joined: 4/04/2006
Location: NE Ohio, deck chuckin' fool
Posts: 9437
Moderator
Posted: Aug/04/2006 3:47 PM PST

My grandparents had a gadget that looked like a snake's forked tongue to dig them out of the ground before they got real big. If you have some welders gloves they're handy for handling the things or wrap a newspaper around them to prevent stuck fingers. I use both with thistles as well as my prickly pear cactus.
If you cut the thistles up in anyway it will just make tons more plants so try to get every little scrap of them cleaned up. Even a bit of leaf will eventually root.
Too bad they're such a pain because the goldfinches love them.
crabbergirl
Joined: 4/18/2002
Location: Bostwick, Florida
Posts: 370
Posted: Aug/12/2006 11:07 AM PST

I have to agree with Whit about the solarizing with black plastic and getting them before going to seed. Also you can use newspaper for mulch covered with grass clippings. After you place your desired plants in the ground use the mulch method. It helps keep weeds down and you can spot them as they pop up and get them early. It will also help kill seeds left behind from the previous year. Just make sure to keep topping the paper and mulch as you go through the season. This will help reducing watering too.
Good luck
Kale
Joined: 11/02/2002
Location: Greenhouse Mi.
Posts: 1465
Posted: Sep/02/2006 10:08 PM PST

I have thistle popping up all over 2 areas,At first I thought it was a "friendly nieghbor" she loves thistles and thought she wanted to share. Well turns out as I went garage/yard salin this summer I saw them all over and was told (by many homeowners/gardeners) that this was the first year they had them too I stressed I though it was a neighbor and was told "nope..everyone has them wheather they know it or not!"

I am pulling them and they keep growing in my brick path and not one has gone taller them a couple of inches tall.Dont know where all those seed came from, maybe someone drove a helicopter above us and broadcasted them for miles!
I dislike them and boy can they give a good hurting on a hand *LOL as bad as a rose bush and the pant leg.

I guess Im fit to be tied because I cant black plastic my area
So...I will continue to pull those boogers out grrrr..

I think they are in wildflower seed,which I will never use or give nor recommend to anyone ever again.

Have a great day and I hope you get rid of that beast of a plant!
I have that and wild buckwheat to tangle with

All the Best!

Kale
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