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Thread: Help!

  1. #9
    Kaiya's Avatar
    Kaiya is offline Tuber
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    I sympathise - I lost the fight to weeds last year, and I don't even have any proper nasties like horsetail (I have one patch of couch). As an emergency method we bought water 'permeable' weed suppressing membrane and covered 75% of the plot in the autumn. Now it's spring, and as I need space I uncover bits. Underneath it my clay-based soil is weed free (so far) fluffy, loads of huge worms in the top 6 inches of soil, it's not sodden (the 'permeable' membrane actually sheds water more than it lets it through) and a joy to work with. Apparently it's supposed to be a haven for pests but so far I've lifted 20-25 square metres of fabric and I've found two small stripey slugs and one caterpillar.

    The 25% of the plot I didn't cover is hard packed (probably because I walked on it more) covered in new weeds and the soil is too damp to hoe (just end up squishing rather than cutting weeds) and when I dig I see very few worms.

    The membrane is expensive, but it lasts for a long time and has uses in paths or elsewhere. Cardboard and mulch would be cheaper but I couldn't rustle up enough last autumn. Cutting the plastic and planting through it isn't ideal as it is the woven kind that gives you tape cassette ribbons if you start messing with it. Plus it's an emergency measure, not my ideal solution. My plan is to replace the plastic with biodegradable mulches as I go.

    Re: onions and weeds - my onions got smothered by weeds last year (pot marigolds, groudsel, chickweed and borage are my weeds) and I still got a crop and some of them even overwintered accidentally. This year my over-wintered onions have been mulched by a half-hearted mulch of grass and oak leaves (all I had handy) - I need to top it up but so far, no weeds.

    Re: beds - I have the 'chuck the soil in a heap' beds and I love them - I let the paths do what they want (mostly grass and chickweed) and concentrate on the beds. Groundsel is the only plant I have to attack on the paths as it's a speedy little self-sower.

    Although membrane isn't everyone's cup of tea I was getting terribly despondent with a uncontrolled plot and it got me down at times; now I can't get enough of the plot and with planning I'll be able to switch over to a less artificial mulching method over time.

  2. #10
    di's Avatar
    di
    di is offline Mature Fruiter
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    I've found that log/wood piles and cardboard have been my best way to smother weeds. Not sure whether it's the weight or the fact they let moisture in, or a combination of both. areas that I covered with either plastic or sheets of metal were rock hard when I lifted them just a few weeks ago.

    I've not come across any but am keeping my eyes peeled for some old doors, unpainted, which I plan on laying on the few unworked areas I have left. Once they've done the job they can be used for compost heaps/fencing.

    Onions are a total pain to weed, and I don't dare hoe them anymore as I've suffered too much fatality amongst them when I accidentally catch one. Going to try grass clippings this year.

    As Rusty Lady says, squash are great for smothering weeds.

    I can sympathise with you re weeds, my plot no.2 used to be worked by a rotovator happy chap....his way of 'tackling' weeds was to give up on the veggies he'd planted and rotovate the ground into a fine tilth and start again Three years on and I'm finally getting there as far as undoing his weed multiplying, it's taken lots of digging and pulling and smothering though and I know the battle's going to be an ongoing one, but it does get easier.
    the fates lead him who will;him who won't they drag.

    Happiness is not having what you want,but wanting what you have.xx

  3. #11
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    get yourself down to the supermarket or large outlet or large electrical supplier, and take some cardboard away with you. Take lots, lots more than you think you need, then put it on the ground, water it, or weight it down with something if you think it's going to blow away.
    Don't butt it up next to each bit, overlap it.
    If you can get hold of something to mulch on top of it, spread it as deeply as you can, and plant through it for this year.
    Have a look here
    http://www.growfruitandveg.co.uk/gra...ment_5573.html
    for advanced mulching which will show you hopefully what you can have instead of sticky clayey wet soil
    Last edited by taff; 03-03-2012 at 01:49 PM.

  4. #12
    Kaiya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by di View Post
    I can sympathise with you re weeds, my plot no.2 used to be worked by a rotovator happy chap....his way of 'tackling' weeds was to give up on the veggies he'd planted and rotovate the ground into a fine tilth and start again Three years on and I'm finally getting there as far as undoing his weed multiplying, it's taken lots of digging and pulling and smothering though and I know the battle's going to be an ongoing one, but it does get easier.
    The chap who has the plot closest to our house does this - he blitzes it with weedkiller (killing the grass path and his neighbour's first row of spuds in the process), then rotovates. I'll be interested to see what he does this spring. Initially we wanted his plot (it looked neglected, if we put a gate in the garden fence we'd literally walk out onto it) but after seeing what he's done I think our further away little plot is better.
    di likes this.

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