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  • Plastic sheet/weed barrier

    Good morning I have just put a large proportion of my allotment to bed for winter.
    I was contemplating covering the freshly weeded ground with weed barrier or plastic sheeting. Is this recommended to suppress weeds over winter so I have nice clear ground when I start to plant is spring or should I leave it and just weed at the start of the season?

    Many thanks

  • #2
    Many used to cover the ground with black plastic, now a lot use cardboard which will rot down and can go in the compost. I still leave mine open and let the weather do it's worst and when I am prepping in the spring for sowing and planting, I remove weeds as I go along. I actually miss the digging I used to do, but currently doing no dig and the results seem to be ok.
    If I'm not on here, I'm probably fishing.

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    • #3
      I'm in the cover-it-up camp - I put a layer of compost on at the end of the season first. For me, cardboard/membrane (I use both) prevents loads of weed seeds even landing on the soil, and reduces the number of tiny oak trees I have to pull out, presumably planted by squirrels. I also put blackberry/raspberry trimmings over the cardboard to try and prevent the foxes digging holes all over the place.
      I find it very satisfying to uncover in the spring, and see all the puny, light-starved perennial weeds which can be plucked out more easily.

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      • #4
        Another cover-ist here, but make sure it's either cardboard or smooth. Woven weed barrier gets stuff grown into it and is the very devil to remove.

        also, need to make sure is weighted down well. There is also the uv degredation issue. I cover mine with woodchip (not completely free of drawbacks in the form of woodlice and slugs), but it looks nicer, holds it down and keeps the sunlight off it.

        when I want to open it up, I carefully scrape the woodchip off and re-use the plastic elsewhere. The woodchip can either be re-used, or if it's started to rot, can go in the compost heap.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by bikermike View Post
          Another cover-ist here, but make sure it's either cardboard or smooth. Woven weed barrier gets stuff grown into it and is the very devil to remove.
          I can certainly vouch for this.
          I don't like to use weed barriers myself, but the previous tenant on my allotment did. It's all woven stuff, and it all has couch grass roots woven into it along it's whole length. I gave up trying to actually get them out. I just rolled up the whole lot, couch grass and all, and dumped it in one corner. After a year, most of the couch grass in the roll had died and rotted, thankfully.

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          • #6
            I only cover with cardboard and compost if I have any, just before I plant. I find there aren't too many weeds that grow strongly through the winter anyway. I cant understand covering with plastic at this time as planting season is just around the corner? Parsnips will be sown in February along with shallots. and I may even bung in a few onion sets. The plastic would no sooner be down that it would need to be lifted?

            Having said that, I've just noticed the thread was started just before Christmas, which is still a bit late or early (depending on how you look at it) to put summat to bed in my opinion.
            Last edited by Snadger; 28-01-2021, 04:47 PM.
            My Majesty made for him a garden anew in order
            to present to him vegetables and all beautiful flowers.- Offerings of Thutmose III to Amon-Ra (1500 BCE)

            Diversify & prosper


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Snadger View Post
              I only cover with cardboard and compost if I have any, just before I plant. I find there aren't too many weeds that grow strongly through the winter anyway. I cant understand covering with plastic at this time as planting season is just around the corner? Parsnips will be sown in February along with shallots. and I may even bung in a few onion sets. The plastic would no sooner be down that it would need to be lifted?
              It's not like they need cover everything, only to lift it again soon after. Some crops won't go in until May or so, once risk of frost has passed, so any beds which will be growing those could certainly benefit from covering now.

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              • #8
                I have covered sections with cardboard, held down with old scaffolding boards as I haven’t got the woodchip.
                On other sections I’ve got black plastic, left from the growing season but does suppress weeds. It’s a dpm sheet with planting holes cut in it, warms the soil for the tomatoes. I trialled planting in open ground vs through plastic last year, and I easily got 50% more crops at a minimum, plus the watering was cut down considerably.

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                • #9
                  One of the guys on my old site had a big sheet of black plastic with 2 inch diameter holes cut in it it at 6 inch spacing for planting his onion sets through. He had a two year rotation with onions and potatoes. The spuds were just planted in the soil without plastic cover.
                  My Majesty made for him a garden anew in order
                  to present to him vegetables and all beautiful flowers.- Offerings of Thutmose III to Amon-Ra (1500 BCE)

                  Diversify & prosper


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                  • #10
                    First year I used plastic to cover the plot, was put down in November uncovered March.

                    Found it encouraged red ants, so used card board with compost on top, now 5 years later most weeds have gone & just need to put small layer of compost before winter and let nature do it business.

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                    • #11
                      one of the guys on my old lotty site took over a really bad corner but it was about 2 1/2 lotty plots and about head high with weeds and rubbish.

                      His first job was to clear the rubbish out then he built a huge shed so he could shelter from all the sunshine we don't get THen he cut down all the weeds, had 2 loads of muck tipped, spread it all over the allotment and covered it with Black plastic having planted spuds in t the muck. Once the started to lift the plastic he just cut a cross in it and the plants grew thru. harvesting was easy and by year 2 it was virtually clear!
                      ntg
                      Never be afraid to try something new.
                      Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark.
                      A large group of professionals built the Titanic
                      ==================================================

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