Video: How To Kill Weeds Without Spraying

Black plastic has become a major weapon in our constant fight against weeds and pernicious grasses. I previously wrote about how I use it in some of our vegetable beds to help us garden without tilling.

In fact, I have three lidded garbage bins labeled “Black Plastic” in the garden shed to protect the plastic from the mice during the growing season. And not just because I like it- it’s mainly because this stuff is NOT cheap, and I was not happy the spring I went to get the plastic and found it riddled with mice holes (and a nest of babies, but we’re not gonna talk about that!).
So we protect our plastic here at An Oregon Cottage, and we use it to take care of areas we need to keep grass and weeds away on a permanent basis like pathways and between crops like berries.
We do NOT use it in flower beds covered with bark mulch- a look I find particularly nasty and one that does not enrich the soil for the plants living there. For those beds we use the newspaper-and-mulch method.
However, we did not always embrace black plastic as we do now. Here’s our story.

Watch this video full size on YouTube.

How do you deal with major weeds?


  1. says

    With little garden of ours, weeding is still a wonderful chore.., sitting on a low stool, pulling one after another. With acres of garden, that would definitely be a different story altogether.
    Putrajaya Malaysia

  2. says

    Love the videos!….However who uses the word ” pernicious “! he he…bet it was Brian’s idea! Keep up the great blog. Wish my back yard could look as good as yours.

  3. Anne says

    Oh wow — we had a similar problem. More grass in our vegetable beds then veggies, and that was AFTER using plastic. An alternative that worked GREAT was to use old sheers that I was going to toss anyway. We pinned ’em down over the grass, added 8 inches of soil and mulch, and voila; gorgeous vegetable beds that are a snap to weed now that the pernicious grass is dead and buried. OK, so all is not perfect in our garden, yet. The grass growing around the outside of the fence has begun to encroach, but I’m fixing to bury it with more curtains (so many windows; so many bad choices) and mulch from the white pine that crushed our garden three weeks ago. The garden survived. That grass won’t!.

  4. says

    Please pardon my ignorance, but where do you purchase black plastic?… We have *Morning Glory* taking over our entire back yard and that is NOT the look we are going for! (my husband says it should be called *Devil Weed*! ha!)… Anyway… Do you think the black plastic will work to get rid of that?

    • says

      We buy it at home stores like Home Depot or Lowes. They have all different thicknesses – the thicker is more expensive, but it lasts longer. We now just suck it up and buy the thicker (they also sell clear plastic in the same area – make sure the box you get is black).

      As for the “morning glory” that a weed called Bindweed and is not at all like the beautiful Morning Glory that we can grow from seed. It is one of the most noxious weeds I know of and is named appropriately: it covers other plants, binding them and choking them to death. Do what you can to get rid of it- but be warned: ANY little piece of root left in the ground will grow TWO or more plants from it! It’s really awful. :-(

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