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I have a perennial bed that I want to kill out and plant a small garden this spring…

Stacy Asked

I have a perennial bed that I want to kill out and plant a small garden this spring. It is very thick with vegetation right now. I’m concerned about spraying it then sowing vegetables. I sprayed it a couple of times in the fall, which helped very little.

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The Gardener’s Answer

Switching out a perennial bed for a vegetable garden is certainly doable, but the task of getting the perennials out of the way is the first order of business. The lack of success with spraying may have to do with what you sprayed, how much you sprayed, what you are trying to kill, and if the plant was actively growing or able to absorb the active ingredient (likely glyphosate).

Since your goal is to replace a perennial bed with a vegetable garden, you are better off digging up the plants, reworking the soil, and replanting. If this is an established perennial bed, you will have the roots to contend with even if you just kill the plants, so you might as well just dig up the healthy plants and their roots so you have a clean bed to plant your veggies in.

Digging out the existing perennials is the most environmentally friendly option and really makes the most sense in terms of replanting. Glyphosate and other chemical sprays have their place, but knowing you are going to eat the plants growing in this soil is just another good reason to hand-dig.

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