So, please be gentle. I'm fairly new to permaculture. My learning so far has come through Paul's podcast and a few others.
We are developing five acres in NW Florida. I am currently looking at opening up a new section which is about a quarter-acre. The problem is that before planting we have something called Cogon grass. If you have never run across Cogon grass its a very invasive grass that is native to somewhere in Asia. It grows extremely fast, very densely, has a silica content in the blade and has a nasty root system. It actually propagates through rizomes. It's extremely difficult to get rid of.
Standard methodology for eradication is through RoundUp or one other pesticide. Obviously something I don't want to do. I can burn it, then till it under (several times) and then deal with what comes up. Not excited about that either.
So...what are your thoughts on getting rid of it? My understanding of the permaculture principles is that we should try and replace it, crowd it out. Fair enough. My thoughts are to do something to get rid of it initally (burining or tilling). I don't have much choice in this. It grows so thickly if I were to plant anything else it would have no chance of growing. However, if I get it cut back I could probably get something like buckwheat to grow up before the Cogon grass grows back and crowd it out. Grow a crop of buckwheat once or twice until it gets cool in October. Then do a cover crop of some type ofthings that would break up the soil. Radishes, turnips etcs.
I figure I might have something to work with by next spring. Right now you can take a sharp bladed shovel where its been cut back and punch it down into the soil and just pull up a mass of roots. Each one is just another strand of Cogon that will end up coming up.
What I am doing in the back area were we are doing another garden area is heavily mulching with pine bark where the grass is trying to encroach on the garden area. It is semi-successful. It probably would have worked completely if I had put down a layer of newspaper under the mulch. The problem with mulch is that it doesn't do anything about the roots under the ground so I don't think it will really work in the new section I was describing.
rotten tomatoes ? (great for the compost!!)