Digging Lazy Beds to Start a Garden

As winter comes to an end in parts of the
world, no doubt there are many gardeners out there who are asking the question “How do
I convert this piece of land into a productive vegetable garden?’ While some may be fortunate enough to start
with a weed free lawn or a field with deep fertile topsoil, many of us are facing neglected,
rough sites that are overgrown, uneven and full of weeds. This is the context that I faced last year
when I was starting to plan the Black Plot. The land that is now the Black Plot used to
be the site of a series of polytunnels that had been destroyed in a storm a few years
ago. Since then it has been abandoned and has become
overgrown with lots of perennial weeds, especially couch grass or scutch grass. There’s also signs that a lot of weed seeds
have been deposited on the surface of the soil. Some areas of site that had been the beds,
the growing beds of the former polytunnels seemed to be in good condition, but other
sections were quite compacted. In addition there were piles of stones, and
mounds of decomposing vegetation, and patches of subsoil and other debris. To top it off, the edges of the old polytunnel
plastic were still buried in the soil. It was a tough site to start with, but I was
determined to convert a sizeable portion of this 1000 square meter or quarter acre site
into productive beds for this past growing season. My first instinct was to get a local farmer
to plough the full site, but this would have been difficult with the buried plastic, the
uneven ground, and the tricky access. I was also tempted to rent a rototiller, and
work over the site a few times, but there still would have been a problem with buried
plastic, and it probably would have made the weed problem worse by chopping up and spreading
around the couch grass roots. I felt that the area was too large to use
No-Dig methods, as it would have required an excessive amount of material. Besides, I haven’t been overly successful
with using No-Dig methods in this climate – yet. A few people suggested I should get some pigs
or other animals to work over the site for a season, but I wanted to grow vegetables,
not manage animals. And I felt that spraying the site with a broad
spectrum herbicide was not an option. So, I ended up preparing much of the land
by hand, using a modified version of lazy beds. Lazy beds are an old technique, that historically
would have been used in some parts of Ireland to grow potatoes in hillsides an in some rough
ground. The classic method consisted of cutting a
clump of sod from what will become the path and folding it over, upside down on top of
the growing bed, burying two layers of vegetation underneath a layer of soil. If done carefully, it leaves a clean surface
of soil on the bed, that with a little bit of extra preparation is ready to plant into. It’s a relatively easy and efficient way
to establish regular lines of growing beds by hand, and since I wanted to establish the
Black Plot as a series of standardised fixed beds, this was a useful part of the process. Although it is labour intensive, compared
to mechanised methods, I had the help of a couple of hard working volunteers, which made
the decision a little bit easier. The method we used was an adaptation of the
traditional lazy bed, modified to deal with the rougher conditions and weeds. First we used a sharp spade to cut through
the vegetation, roots and soil to define the edge of the bed. To start the digging we cut a deep clump of
sod out of the end of the bed and set it aside, creating a short trench across the width of
the bed. We then cut clumps of grass and soil from
the paths and placed this at the bottom of the new trench. Then we cut the next section of the growing
bed and rolled this over on top, filling the previous trench and creating a new one. We repeated this process down the length of
the bed, picking out exposed rocks and roots of weeds as we went, and making sure to bury
the vegetation and any weed seeds that would have been on the surface. At the end of the bed the first clump of sod
was used to fill the final trench. As we dug it became more apparent just how
diverse the conditions were in the soil, which led me to abandon my initial planting plans. Some of the newly created beds had soil that
was in really good condition, with very few perennial weeds. These beds were designated for growing carrots,
parsnip and other crops that can’t handle a lot of competition and need a cleaner soil. It made sense to plant larger and more aggressive
vegetables such as brassicas and potatoes on the rougher beds and those with greater
amounts of couch grass. The really poor areas with uneven ground,
buried plastic and excessive perennial weeds were covered with opaque ground cover, after
digging, and designated to be planted with pumpkins and squash. Having done all the work, and managed the
beds for the first season, I think the decision to use this modified lazy bed method to establish
the plot was a good one – for the most part. Primarily, it enabled me to get started growing
in the space quickly. I also believe that it was less damaging to
the worms and other soil biology than other methods of cultivation would have been. But, I think the main benefit was that it
stretched out the work over time, and reduced the initial amount of labour that was necessary. First, we established the beds and removed
any unearthed roots of perennial weeds. Then, while the crops were growing, I spent
time hoeing the beds to knock back the remaining perennial weeds that regrew. This time also allowed the earthworms and
other soil biology to decompose most of the buried vegetation and to work through the
soil. I am now in the process of digging over the
beds and removing crops, weed, plastic and other debris, which is much easier now that
a lot of the fibrous roots have decomposed, and the soil is looser. Later this spring, and no doubt for several
years to come, I will be dealing with the abundance of weed seeds that were initially
buried, but will inevitably be dug up and sprout. But, of course, not everything went well. The carrots and a few other crops that I sowed
didn’t grow well with the decaying vegetation around their roots. Another issue was that the regrowth of couch
grass was quite problematic in some areas, especially as I didn’t hoe the garden as
often as I had planned to. It may have helped to have delayed planting
for a additional month to allow time to deal with the perennial weeds that did regrow. I probably also should have covered a few
more beds with opaque ground cover. And finally, it would have been better for
the first season to grow only larger, more aggressive crops, that could handle the decaying
vegetation around their roots, and could overshadow the weeds. Given what I know know, would I do the same
thing again? Probably not, but more because I would want
to try something different. Taking the time to methodically dig out the
vegetation and remove it to the compost pile, as well as removing the plastic and debris,
would be an option. But only I had lots of time, or lots of volunteers
to help, as well as extra fertility to feed the crops for the first year. If I was willing to wait a year before growing
crops, I would consider sheet mulching the whole site, or using an opaque ground cover
to kill off the vegetation before preparing the fixed beds. But the option I would probably use would
be to dig out the plastic and debris by hand, and then get my farmer friend to plough the
entire site in the autumn. I would then get her to harrow the space a
few times in the spring to scratch out as many of the couch grass roots as possible. I think this would be an appropriate use of
fossil fuels and readily available mechanisation, and would have saved a lot of time and effort. In the end we prepared 25 growing beds last
year, each about 20 meters long, totalling about 600 square meters or about 6000 square
feet of growing space. It took almost 40 hours of work, spread over
a few weeks, but I’m really glad we did it that way, because I learned a lot and we
were able to get established quite quickly. I don’t mind a fair amount of hard manual
labour, and I’m usually not that quick to jump to labour saving mechanisation. But in this case I wonder if I found the best
balance between time, labour and machine. I wonder in what context I might use a herbicide
like Roundup. I might instinctively say never, but that’s
probably more my echo chamber speaking for me. The realist in me recognises that these man-made
compounds are already so pervasive in our food and environment, and that a weed infested
site can be one of the most debilitating factors that are preventing people from successfully
growing their own food. Taking these two things into consideration,
I can certainly understand why people would use a herbicide to help establish a growing
space. Personally, I think that if I was in a situation
of significant scarcity and urgency, and needed to establish a growing space in a weed infested
ground, but didn’t have the time or capacity to properly manage it, I would seriously consider
a single application of herbicide, as an option. I’m not in that situation right now, but perhaps
I need to consider doing a small trial plot at some point in the future, because I’m not
really comfortable dismissing potentially useful tools and methods, without trying them
first. Besides, that’s what this RED Garden Project
is all about.

100 thoughts on “Digging Lazy Beds to Start a Garden

  1. Its nice to see that you are doing well with your site, but as an other tool for your garden, instead of spraying have about getting a Chicken Tractor to go over your beds before planting. as chicken will 1 eat bugs and weed seeds 2 fertilise your beds with dropping, 3 you will get good eggs of them to. Hope this helps keep on with the good work.

  2. Here is a Video to watch from Geoff Lawton Permaculture guru, hope it helps  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fq43hjcG5c

  3. What's with the subtle skull and crossbones flashing quickly on the screen? If you want to say something, why don't you say it instead of trying to plant subconscious messages?

  4. Just wanted to say. Your thoughts on herbicides are interesting and the subtle comment on what you where saying was fair. People who don't get it either lack imagination or just don't understand the concept of cognitive dissonance.

  5. عمل جبار اخي رد
    نشكرك على جميع فيديوهاتك التعليمية
    وارجو لك طول العمل ليستفيد منك المجتمع ومحبي الزراعي
    محبك/سالم الجابر
    المدينة المنورة
    المملكة العربية السعودية

  6. Hahaha – subliminal msg at 8:26 – cool – and nice vid – thanks for the recap of what went well and what didn't. too many vids all excited to show you something they learned, but you never see how well it actually worked.

  7. Bruce, mate. Don't use Roundup. You are better than that. Get a few trucks of weed free mulch materilas (cardboard, coffee grinds, manure, food waste, leaves, biodegradable sacks, seaweed, woodchips) and sheet mulch it. Your work ethic deserves better solutions to pair with. Love your video style, informative, to the point, multiple angles and footage of site. I know I speak for many others when I say it would be a shame to lose you to the pesticides. I'm a permaculturalist myself and happy to talk about methods to avoid synthetic pesticides like roundup. Anyway sorry to ramble. Happy growing

  8. How about mowing or scything juvenile weeds? You could gather them from a wider area and concentrate the fertility into sheet mulching your chosen spot. Jim Kovaleski does some really interesting farming in Maine and Florida. He gets free materials in Florida and lays them down to sit while he's in Maine, where he scythes to gather fertility. Doesn't water, fertilize, or weed. Just keeps laying down more grass. A bush scythe would work great on a weedy field with some practice. This lazy bed method is great too, I can imagine a bunch of situations where that'd work well. I've turned over sod to start a garden patch before, but I like the efficient sequence you guys used, will have to use that in the future. Reminded me of the John Jeavons double digging flow with board and buckets.

  9. You argue that using poisonous weedkiller on your good growing plot is ok because there is already poison everywhere.That is a fallacy. Just use vinegar or tillage. Supporting Monsanto is a higher level of ecological damage than using fossil fuels to harrow your field.

  10. apart from the herbecide ( which is never an option once it kill the living soil) … ( and then again erases the reason not to simply buy the food ) . Other than that , very good considerations as in the no rule compost clip . Well done !

  11. I love that your finding your own path and that your not an ideologue. you have to be brave to seek truth and share it in todays polarized world.
    Know thyself

  12. Love your videos and your honesty. I personally am fond of experimentation, especially when it comes to gardening but theres a 'red line' i draw when it comes to experimentation: putting a poison in the earth that could later contaminate your food and water is a line i would hope you wouldn't cross either. If it came to that point, i would rather eat grass than to try poisoning my way to cultivaiton. FYI i was not off put by the skull and bones, thought it was a nice touch.

  13. What help me with my gardening problem was this book. There is everything about hedges, grass, prunning..https://www.amazon.com/…/B07C1…/ref=rdr_ext_sb_ti_hist_1

  14. Choice between herbicides and something else, I'dgo with something else.
    Maybe a controlled burn if drastic steps are needed.
    Great video!

  15. Lazy beds make no sense to me. I just got done making a new 15' x 10' garden plot in my yard that was previously grass and weeds for 8 decades. The thought of introducing that sod (with all those weeds) back into my soil after I already worked hard to dig it up is bone-chilling to me and makes no sense (although in your context I can kinda see why you tried it). I used the double-dig method to loosen the hard, wet clay subsoil (not sure if this was wise) and saved as much topsoil from the sod as I could by running a "garden weasle" vigorously over the roots of the sod to break the topsoil loose then shook the sod and banged it against the subsoil to get every bit of topsoil from it that I could. It was hard work and I pulled a muscle in my back, but from my experience nothing "lazy" or "quick" is ever worthwhile. I don't plan on the garden producing well this year as new garden plots never work well for me. But hopefully next year.

  16. In my little plots I grub everything out by hand and shovel, and it is a lot of work. Recently the hoary cress, Lepidium draba, or piobracus liath, how about that, in the "back forty" got into my beloved Grotto and took over a fair amount of space. It was heartbreaking for me, but I retaliated by digging up my bed in the Grotto and sifting out as much of the cress as I could. Then I did the same in the back forty along the fence for about 6 feet so far, and dug a trench near the fence, into which I will place corrugated metal roofing as a barrier. For over a month now I have been digging the cress as it reappears. When I put the Grotto garden bed back together, I will use glyphosate ☠️ on individual plants as they emerge. I can't see any other choice. I got a lot of old carpet and I will put black poly down in the back and the carpet over that to keep the cress at bay, and the landlord said he would spray anything beyond that (shudder). Dont get me started about the bindweed (Convolulus avarensis) in the front!

  17. Moldboard plow? Turn opposite each way. Next year same thing. Plowing what was unplowed last year. Never have done it but same idea ,,, easier on back., nothing leaves my garden burn in place and till in rest. Fire wood ash scattered in wind. Grass clippings scattered. Tree leaves burned in fall. All tilled in fall and again in spring. Brush , shrubs tree limbs burned and tilled in. Works great. I broadcast sow lettuce and onions together. Even under tomatoe plants. Row radishes. Corn and beans. Theory being if there is a bare spot something will grow. It might as well be something to eat. Pull weeds you can see, grass clippings in corn rows. Or card board. Or news papers. Water good.

  18. Would you really consider using round up? Even in a experiment, it is deadly and remains in the ground contaminating for years. Do you really want to eat food growing in it. After all aren't you growing food for better nutition. Or is it for profit? Round up should be illegal.

  19. The couch grass is next level my friend! I have a site covered with it overlapping for years so when you said you were just flipping it over I was aghast! but good feedback loop and explanation of the negative. Have to shade it out and it decomposes very nicely

  20. Excellent video and information!! Thank you for sharing. I just wanted to give some input on the rhizomous grass problem… I cleared out a 350 ft^2 space that was covered in rhizomous grass, and I did not want to fight it forever… It's not exactly a lazy style, but basically, I manually removed all the grass once and it did not come back, and if it did, it was very little and only more came after my neighbors grass seeded all over the area afterwards months later which I couldn't control. Even then, they were easy to pull out before they established their rhizomes again and started running.

    My tried lazy technique (kind of a manually sped up sheet mulch): Cover a weedy area in some horse stable bedding (manure and hay) by 1-2 inches, weeds and all, including rhizomous grass. Don't even trip dog, let it either rain heavily on the plot so it's saturated and just wait a couple weeks (or more, I guess that's the "lazy" part). Wait until all those weed seeds germinate and even grow to a decent size so you ensure all the weed seeds on the topsoil have germinated, and then go ham on the weeds that came through the mulch and the weeds that germinated with the new soil and watering. Use good posture, squat down with proper breathing technique (stabilization) and form (or do whatever, just get close with your hands), and rip those bad boys out of the lightly mulched ground, making sure to get the entire roots system, particularly with the rhizomous grass. The plants will come out of the soil incredibly easily with the loose mulched soil, and since topsoil is minimally disturbed by manually weeding (instead of using a hoe like you did nya), there is very little return of weeds afterwards and your plants can dominate! The small number of weeds that do return are easy to take out of the loosened soil too. I see no other reasonable way to get rid of that dang rhizomous grass except for herbicidal sprays, which really I would say should be avoided considering just about everyone uses Round Up and that stuff is just cancerous as hell. The technique is labor intensive, but you aren't against that are ye? It's kind of similar to Curtis Stones except he uses tools to drag away the top soil as well. This inevitably results in more work instead of a one shot go like this technique.

    Also very interesting to hear you say certain plants deal with rotting material better than others. I have heard that before but just in offhanded ways, such as viney plants enjoy a sheet mulch (or slightly active pile) in general, more than regular soil even… But that is interesting to think on!

  21. I find using herbicides allows Mare's Tail to thrive as it destroys the weed competition. I've opted for the digging with a for method and put the weeds + grass on the compost heap…

  22. Very good video.  One more thing you will learn is, get yourself a round / pointed nose long handled shovel.  The flat faced spade, regardless of how sharp it is, is an inferior digging tool in rough ground.

  23. When I create a new garden.  I have done several.  I plow then rototill.  The weeds and grass are chopped well into the soil.  Because the stuff takes a year to decompose so the garden will be pretty well useless the first year.  After the initial cultivation I periodically rototill as the weeds and grass try to come back.  In the early fall I rototill again then I sow fall wheat.  It will sprout before winter.  In the early spring,  just as the snow melted to bare earth, I frost seed red clover into the wheat.  The wheat shades out most weeds and the red clover begins to grow under it.  When the wheat is cut, say in June or July,  the red clover will thrive and form a dense cover that smothers weeds and at the same time produces nitrogen that helps decay the vegetation you have rototilled under.  In the fall of that year or early the next year you can cultivate the clover under.  The weeds are killed, the soil is full of wonderful humus and nitrogen.  You are ready to go with an amazing fertile garden.  This works well for me in Canada however other methods may work better in other climates.

  24. U gonna geow some flowers for bringing in pollinators…im.switching to flowers…my tiny beds produce fun food but well people tell me groe brussel sprouts i love them…then no one eats them..noe im adding a lot of flowers and only growing food i like!!

  25. Hi and good luck with your project. I have found an easy and simple way to growing veg here in co.cavan. i use old half ton bags the ones that sand or gravel are delivered in. They give me a 90cm diameter by 60cm high raised bed. I fill them with a mix of lawn clippings and saw dust from my workshop and i never dig, i just top up at the end of the growing season and cover for the winter.

  26. I'm enjoying your channel but disagree profoundly with the use of any lethal poisons ( if it kills living organisms, it goes without saying it's probably killing us). Maybe a different perspective on what was growing there would be better…is any of it edible, wild food? Or maybe just grow fruit and perennials on it.

  27. You could sheet mulch and just cut out plant holes for garden on the first year keeping the sheets intact so the weeds would be controlled during the growing season.

  28. The fact that chemical fertilizers and herbicides are already so pervasive in our food and environment is not a reason to continue using them.

  29. Hello, I am really happy to have stumbled upon your channel. You are very informative with an open mind to possibilities of future trials which I respect. I am curious if you have considered the use of large sillage tarps for assisting with the decomposition of weeds, rhyzomes and other vegetation you may want to have broken down. I recently purchased 3 acres and plan to start out with 6 40'x50'. This coming season will be the start of my preparation and my original plan consisted of sillage tarping the entire growing space and periodically tilling the soil and retarping for an entire season. Having seen this I feel it may be more beneficial to do this modified lazy bed technique you have shown here and then tarping for an entire season. Any experience you or anyone else reading this comment might have would be greatly appreciated.

  30. Hi Bruce, I love your videos, very informative and to the point. Kudos for including your experience from so-called “failures” as well.
    I’d like to know how wide the beds and paths are? Further down in the comments you mentioned that they measure 1.2 metres wide including the path. Does that mean that they are each around 60 cm wide? In the video the paths look a lot more narrow than the beds, but that could be from the camera angle. Ideally I’d like to make beds that are 70-80 cm wide and paths that are 30-40 cm wide, but I’m not sure how that would be possible unless you have extra soil or mulch available to fill in the gaps underneath before you turnover the top layer of grass. I hope it’s clear what I’m asking. Thanks from a danish viewer. 😀

  31. Red Gardens..I caught your posts for the first time tonight. I'm in Peoria Illinois in USA. I wanted to tell you a couple things I picked up listen to you. one was telling about a buzzard taking care of pests. you ran out of pests, lost your buzzard. my next thought was you'd become your own pest buzzard. haha!. I also support 1000 o/o your culling rats. you're the one plucking around the compost. it's totally correct. among other reasons, my husband died of non hod lymphoma at 52. he smoked and welded. stay away from the roundup. he used it at home, and at the place he worked. find something else. you're a kind man. I subscribed and hit the bell.happy growing. Terri.

  32. A skull and bones flashed when you were talking about Roundup. We are getting lawyer adds about Roundup causing cancer. Maybe there are reasons to use Roundup. But l would not use it unless it was in very controled conditions.

  33. having done this just a few days ago for another raised bed the irony of the techniques name makes me laugh…

  34. Thank you. You can spray napalm weeds will never stop coming. You will get a couple of months at best. Best you can do be consistent and cover it with galvanize and old sheets of plywood.

  35. I delay converting about 1/8th of an acre of my yard to garden beds for an entire year because of invasive weed growth. I covered the site with a black non-permeable plastic tarp for most of that time. When I finally pulled up the plastic, the worms were everywhere. Then I had the chickens work over the site for about 3 months. Now, the site is ready to be made into beds and produce crops. Only time will tell if the investment will pay off.

  36. Hmm maybe the lazy bed method isnt perfect but wouldnt it be a good way to prepare a bed over a longer period of time? decomposing most of the weeds and then next planting season cleaning it up would be easier and easier yet?

  37. Bruh, I would love to just sit around and listen to this dude talk about anything. A vast bank of knowledge in his brain! Something tells me he has a huge library sitting somewhere in that house! Great channel. Hooked for sure.

  38. Why don't you come to Amish country. They have non fossil fuels methods that would help you a lot. You might find some that can sell you farming implements that uses horse or pony power and the animals will provide you with fertilizer.

  39. Shit, I would resort to a control burn before using Round-Up. Unless you're banking on the settlement money from the cancer lawsuit.

  40. Another great insightful video. Much to consider.
    I would never use any herbicide. There are many tried and true options that were around before glyphosate. Fire is excellent if it is an option in your area. It does a fantastic job of converting a tangled mass of weed and seed to valuable soil ammendment.
    A layer of wood ash on wet leaves burns them good as well. Better than vinegar.
    Steam leaves too much green matter to deal with if you're looking for a clean slate.
    Vegetable oil is a hit and miss treatment that leaves viable seeds in abundance.
    Goats are superb at turning your weeds into easily distributed ferts.
    These are the only relatively speedy ways of clearing a plot. I'd love to hear any other ideas from other subs.

  41. Just burn the weed sprouts with a big Bunsen burner (like the ones that are used for asphalt roofing).

  42. Good job on being so pragmatic – and not overly ideological – when it comes down to things like herbicides (as well as other subjects). I like how you think about what the best solution is in the given circumstances, even if that means not shying away from methods that might be controversial in some circles.

  43. friendly reminder that youtube has an speed to 1.25 options, i read this in another commend section and youtube is not the same anymore for me

  44. Probably never o.k. to use a herbicide that does birth defects. I do like your methods. I like your frank discussion. But probably best to not poison the planet any more. ~Marie

  45. I can't say for sure that it was glyphosate that reduced my productivity but I used it in 2 gardens (7000 sq ft) and they have not been the same for at least 10-15 tears…thanks for your info, I have had very good results from double digging…God bless…doug

  46. I personally thought the skull and crossbones were annoying and made me really wonder what you were trying to do. I think it is dishonest to say one thing and then try to give subliminal messages that contradict what you said. I am inclined to think that you really believe that Roundup deserves to be associated with poison. Why don 't you come out and say so, or at least don't try to mislead us. I won't be watching this channel anymore.

  47. RoundUp, when applied by contact wicking using rope combs, can be done on a wheelbarrow frame in a very efficient manner without leaving ANY residue in the soil. It's important to grub up the killed weeds/grass/crop and destroy it by exposure/fire to completely destroy every bit of residue but when used in a contact abraded application manner it is one of the safest and most effective full herbicides you can use. Don't spray it on, rub it on using wicking tools.

    If you wick it on after using a crimper to crush the flora it is about 4x as effective.

    If you live somewhere with a good amount of sunlight, simply use a crimping roller, black plastic and apply a spray of beer+coke+ammonia at a rate of 6 liters per 100 square meters. (you can use dead wort or even Spent from the brewing process for extra fertility) Then you cover it with black plastic that gets brutal hot and let that work for a couple weeks.

    We literally JUST used black plastic and soil displacement to control weeds in our 200sqm garden when I was growing up.

  48. hey man just a question are you originally from the US ? you sound really american but in one of your other videos i remember you said you live in Ireland…

  49. I dislike the abundance of nasty chemicals in today's world an I love your outlook on it; dire situations really changes its practicality. We use so many crazy carcinogens, toxins, poisons, etc. in pretty much everything now a days and then people are like, "why's life expectancy getting shorter?" So naive! Heck at one point we used lead in gas because it was cheaper than alcohol back then. Big bravo humanity.
    I digress though, from what I understand about stuff like Round-up, it breaks down rather quickly, so the greatest risk comes from application. You really don't want to absorb any of it when it's fresh! Yet there's the other problem, what happens to all of the wildlife that gets coated? Then what happens when other things eat them while it's still active? Screwing over bees is only the tip of the iceberg of what's being done to the food chain. Then to top it all off, we clear the majority of wild flower fields for mostly barren grass yards, pastures, lots, or buildings AND spray tons of stuff. We know bees are super important and we know there's a big problem, but instead it's, "yea, let's just keep doing what we're doing instead, I'm sure it'll be fine because it's the future."

  50. A couple of buddies were thinking about converting their backyard into a garden. Originally I suggested breaking it up and pulling out all the roots and stones, and even offered to help. After a few weeks of dithering, during which they considered herbicides, I actually brought up just turning them. They never did get into it(not enough time or motivation), but I think I might convince them to do it early next year.

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