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Thread: Help!

  1. #1
    *Lavender* is offline Seedling
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    Default Help!

    I need some help & advice please!

    This will be our 3rd year on the plot (well, really only 2nd as we got it at the end of the year, plus half of it was only returned to us last year after the water board had been working on it).

    Anyway, it's never really got off to a good start, and we are still overwhelmed by weeds. We've had weedkiller, tried digging out as much as we could and also burned them. Our plot had been unused for a number of years, and I realise it will take a lot of time and hard work to finally be "weed free", but last year we just couldn't keep up.

    Last year it seemed to take ages before we could do any work, as it was very wet (raining nearly every day), and as the soil is heavy clay, we couldn't really do much until it dried out, and then the weeds took off before we could get our stuff in.

    I'm looking for ideas of the best things to grow this year. I think I made a mistake last year with too many things, not enough time to get areas prepared and the seedlings in, and then they suffered from sitting around in pots & seed trays for too long. I don't have a greenhouse and find this hinders me as well. A lot of things I don't like to sow direct on the plot as the soil is cold & wet, then there's slugs etc and a lot gets eaten before it has a chance to establish. But then I'm left with loads of seed trays and no room to put them anywhere (we have a tiny garden!).

    I think I'm going to give things like onions a miss, as last year they were swamped with weeds, so thinking things like loads of potatoes which will crowd out the weeds.

    Any ideas of the best things to concentrate on this year before I give up?! I'm feeling just a bit overwhelmed at the moment.

    Many thanks!

  2. #2
    Thelma Sanders is online now Gardening Guru
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    Default

    Your plot will never be weed free, weeds are not something that you clear after a year or 2. You just have to keep weeding to stop them ever getting big, a hoe is the easiest way I find, you can clear a quite big area in a little while with one of those
    You could fill it all with potatoes but the weed seed will still grow when the potatoes are lifted, that's just how thing are. You could cover some of your ground with cardboard or weed control fabric and plant though that, if you really can't keep up.

  3. #3
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    rustylady is offline Gardening Guru
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    I agree with Thelma - your plot will never be completely weed-free. Potato foliage will help shade some of them out a bit, but it's the cultivation of the soil involved in growing potatoes (e.g. earthing up) that really gets rid of the weeds. Courgettes and squash have big leaves too.

    What type of weeds are we talking about?

  4. #4
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    Nicos is offline 'Allo 'Allo !
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    We grew strawberries through weed control membrane in a bed designated esp for strawberries.
    Also we initially made raised beds- no boarding, just made paths 4 feet apart and chucked the soil to one side to create the 4 ft wide bed. They were about6" higher than the paths and so dried out and warmed up faster .Worth a try for the next couple of years at least!
    Mulch with straw where you can to suppress the weeds!
    I agree - onions are a pain to weed!

    As RL asks- what sort of weeds?
    "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

  5. #5
    *Lavender* is offline Seedling
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    Default

    Thanks.

    We have the usual buttercups, thistle, nettles, dock, chickweed I think, couch grass, some kind of spurge? but the worst is marestail (horse tail?). The ground is absolutely matted with networks of the rope-like straggly roots. Every time I dig I try and remove as much as I can, but deep down the ground is heavily compacted by these roots netting everything together. Not sure what the best way to deal with it is, other than chop it off every time a new bit surfaces, and try and dig out as much as I can when I can! I know we'll never be absolutely free of weeds, but I was finding last year that the weeds were so many and we couldn't keep up and they ended up swamping our plants!

    I think this year I need to cut back on all the different types of things I want to grow, stop myself being overwhelmed with a whole load of things, and just try and spend as much time weeding things out before they grow too big!

    I think it might also be easier to split the plot into "beds", either a proper made bed with sides, or just as Nicos did and just chuck the soil into an "area". Though I think dp just likes to plough the whole plot (even though I told him this would make the weed problem worse *rolls eyes*).

    I'm wondering if I should invest in some weed suppressing membrane, or try and source huge sheets of cardboard, to help us out?

  6. #6
    Two_Sheds's Avatar
    Two_Sheds is offline Compost Everything...
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    Quote Originally Posted by *Lavender* View Post
    try and source huge sheets of cardboard...?
    you definitely need to get a thick mulching material down on those areas you aren't working yet. Stop the light getting to the weeds and they will be significantly weakened. Then you can dig out the roots as you need to (when you need the area for planting).

    It may take you several months to get there: but if you don't cover them, they'll only get stronger.
    All gardeners know better than other gardeners." -- Chinese Proverb.

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    my sympathies - I have horsetail by the mile and the only way to get it is just keep pulling it up. Whatever you do don't rotivate it ( my first mistake ) as it just divides and conquers!

    This is my 4th proper year and I can still have days were it's all I harvest!

    I have heard that nastusiums swamp it out but I can't say I have ever tried it myself. It does however make a very good decotion against fungal disaease - I plan to make some myself this year.
    Gill

    So long and thanks for all the fish.........

    I have a blog http://areafortyone.blogspot.co.uk

    I'd rather be a comma than a full stop.

  8. #8
    Two_Sheds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piggle View Post
    I have heard that nastusiums swamp it out
    http://www.growfruitandveg.co.uk/gra...lem_51276.html

    Anything that will shade it out will help to control it: but bits will still find cracks of light and spring up through them, so pull those up (fork the roots out)

    nectar bar before & after | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    All gardeners know better than other gardeners." -- Chinese Proverb.

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