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removing mint and horseradish


“We have adopted a plot in a community garden that is filled with mint and

horseradish. How can we get rid of it without the use of chemicals? Thanks, Karin

and Gus”

 

Karin and Gus,

This is the right time of year to tackle your problem.  Mint and horseradish are both invasive in different ways.  Both go dormant before winter. Mint spreads laterally; you need to dig up every bit of the spreading roots. If you use a spading fork instead of a spade, you will be able to get a hold of and follow the roots without breaking into pieces (each one of which will be viable).  Remove the roots in long sections if you can.

 

With horseradish you need to dig deeper but try to remove the entire root.  If you can’t get to all of the root, remove young plants in the spring as soon as they show themselves until the root uses itself up. Plants need to photosynthesize to make more food and grow.  Depriving the plant of leaf surface will eventually do it in.

 

Once you remove the roots than you can mulch the area to keep other weeds from getting started and to build soil-energizing humus. One approach is to mix 12 inches or so of “brown” and “green” organic matter in a 50-50 ratio, the same materials you would use in a hot compost.  Leaves (brown) are easy to obtain this time of year. Chopped up horseradish leaves (green) and other garden debris can be used. Espresso outlets will likely be glad to have you take away their grounds ( a “green”). After making sure all the materials are damp, cover with burlap coffee sacks until spring.

 

In the spring, remove the burlap and you will be rewarded with a couple of inches of beautiful weed-free humus.  As you start your new garden, be vigilant for new growth mint and horseradish.  Nip them when you spot them.

 

Good luck.

 

Jon Rowley

Interbay P-Patch

Seattle

rowley@nwlink.com

 





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