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<  Composting, Mulch, and Soils  ~  Killing weed seeds

PostPosted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:48 am
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 4:55 pmPosts: 217Location: Central NY
I have a cold compost pile. I use the compost on my garden from it in the fall. I would like to put weed plants in it, but I'm afraid the weed seeds wouldn't be killed since the pile is not hot.

Has anyone ever tried to put weedy plants in plastic container with a lid, or pile the weeds in a spot and cover them with a sheet of plastic and let the sun heat the weeds up and kill the seeds?

I feel like I'm throwing away good composting materials (the weeds) if I just let the city pick them.

Has anyone tried this? I can't see where it wouldn't be possible. Just how long should I let the pile of weeds sit in the sun?


"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song." Maya Angelou
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:54 am
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pmPosts: 1927Location: PNW
I would guess that it wouldn't work. Seeds can be pretty tough. Some survive fires.

When I'm feeling ambitious, I collect the seed and just dispose of it, but it would be tedious with some types. Then I can compost the plant if I want. I have a large area to cover, so I never get ahead of the weeds.

The easiest thing to do is pull them before they go to seed, but if you have a lot like I do, then you can never get them all.

Good luck!

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:19 am
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 3:29 pmPosts: 1357Location: Sunol, CA (9B)
That depends on the weed, some, like oxalis and spurge, produce seed continously and also produce tiny bulbs that are like seed. They should only be used when composted into ash. ;) Other stuff, has more set phases of growth, flowering and fruiting, usually more of the wild seasonal stuff (here), you can usually mow that early in the season and not have to worry about seed, and if you mow it regularly you can keep cutting it before it goes to seed.

If you mulch the heck out of the garden, even if weed seeds get into it, they will be smothered 99% of the time. It doesn't take much effort to pull the stragglers then.

No matter what, some amount of weed seeds will blow into your garden, get pooped on it by birds and other animals, or tracked in on your shoes and clothes. It's not like we can isolate and call it quits, just establish lines of defense with fallback positions and a good offense. I take particular effort to annihilate 'new' weeds that I haven't seen before in my yard.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:44 am
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:17 pmPosts: 21
While weeds themselves can successfully be thrown into a pile, its rather a dangerous game to do it when the weeds are going to seed. The easiest method is to not allow the plant to go to seed and if that means removing the flower so be it.
The dandelion is a prime example; remove the flower---no seed.
The dandelion then is a candidate to be thrown in the compost.

Question: does the writer have that many weeds that will make a difference to the pile?
Then again, if the weeds have been applied any kind of herbicide, then it shouldn't be thrown into the pile. Same goes for plants that have had a taste of a glyphosate.

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