Friday, August 9

We'll use even more next year.

Regular readers can't fail to have noticed that we have used weed control fabric in a big way this year but we have still had some beds uncovered.

Where we have used the fabric it has certainly made a big difference. Some weeding has been necessary in the beds where fabric has been used. Weeds still grow around the edges of the bed where the fabric is tucked into the soil and also in the 'trenches' where plants such as onions and carrots are growing in slits in the fabric rather than individual holes.
It doesn't take too long to tidy this up especially after a spell of rain. 
Compare this, however to the weed growth on a bed where the fabric wasn't used. After the short spell of recent rain the three sisters' bed was disappearing under a duvet of weeds. These was mainly fat hen, groundsel, chickweed and sow thistle, all of which take over an area at the speed of lightning given the right conditions and half a chance. Not only did the rain trigger the weeds into growth but it also suspended any hoeing which had been keeping things in check.
I removed a barrow full of weeds from this bed as you can see in the photo on the top right of the collage below.

Now compare this with the bed of recently planted leeks. 

These have been left untouched since they were planted out and have really perked up now. Without the weed control fabric the young leeks would have disappeared under a sea of weeds and probably have ended up being accidentally uprooted as we weeded. They would also have had to compete for moisture, nutrient and light with the more vigorous weed growth.

The French beans below were planted on the same day as the three sisters' bed and have required no weeding at all.

These brassicas haven't needed weeding since they were planted.
Next year we will be using even more fabric. I remember someone saying they used it on potato beds which is something that we will be trying next year!


20 comments:

  1. I am so pleased to have found this blog because I am all for easier gardening and would never thought to use weed supressing membrane in the veggie patch like this! Brilliant, and thank you for showing it to us. I will definitely use this next year, for my weeds are prolific and I've been thinking to ask the RHS if I can have a National Collection declared ~lol~

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    1. It is giving us time to do other things, Deborah, like harvesting and tidying neglected areas and so has been a success so far. We have just bought another job lot!

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  2. Definitely some benefits in using the fabric. Weeds can be hard to control and you have such a large space you're managing and planting. I used some of the fabric on an area that had horse tail weed and of course the horse tail just grew up through the fabric which I was annoyed about. Fortunately you don't seem to have the dreaded horsetail weed.

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    1. No thankfully we don't have horsetail, Kelli, although in odd places some couch grass has made its way through. At the end of cropping most of the fabric will be taken up and any weeds surviving will be removed and ground prepared for next crop. The fabric has different sorts of 'holes' depending on the crop grown through it so will rotate along with the relevant crop.

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  3. Using a weed control fabric has certainly helped my garden over the years. Surprisingly, I haven't used it with onions and leeks and they are the most tedious beds to weed. I'll have to consider it for next year.

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    1. I found weeding onions to be a pain too GM. Just hoping the leeks method works.

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  4. The black fabric also warms the soil up, which the veggies probably love. Does it deter moles and voles?

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    1. I don't really know the answer to that CM as we don't suffer damage from either

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  5. Well, what can I say. I'm now a believer and will also be using it next year. Weeding is such a pain.xxxx

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    1. It has certainly helped us keep on top of things, Snowbird. It doesn't eliminate weeding completely but cuts down a lot.

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  6. I used it on potatoes Sue and it works brilliantly, more so as you don't need to earth up, glad you have had so much success with it

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    1. Good to hear Flowerlady. Do you plant in cross slits or sort of trenches like we do the onions? The no earthing up will please Martyn too.

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  7. Discovered your site last week and came back to have a good nosey, lots of interesting stuff, loved your video of the plums. Ive used weed mat for potatoes and I used the cross slits, got fanastics crops. Although you have to be careful of the mat you use some with a more open weave you will need to use a double layer as the light will get through.

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    1. Hi Sharon and welcome.
      I'm hoping ours is lightproof - seems to be a bit odd selling weed control fabric that let's light through doesn't it. Is it cheaper although if you need two layers it probably works out more expensive!

      I just can't get my head round how the shots find their way out through the slits. I know they will head for a light source but does the slit allow much light through. Also do you put any straw of anything on the new shoots to protect from frost as you can't earth up?

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  8. This is a really great idea. I've got some of the membrane in my shed and I'll definitely be trying it next year. Can I ask you what you use to peg it down? I've really struggled with weeds this year, so this could be a godsend.

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    1. It really depends on the type of cutting CJ - I'll post some details in a later post.

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  9. Where did you get the fabric from Sue?? Just wondering about the price.

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    1. Martyn Googles and goes for whoever is selling it cheapest Tanya we don't buy the cheapest quality as that is very thin. The one we bought was 100gm and the latest lot came from Amazon

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  10. So far I've only used weed control fabric to keep beds clear after I've prepared them for planting. As I have raised beds, I don't suffer too badly from weeds there. Under the fruit trees is another story though! I'm constantly weeding there (the most difficult space to get in to!) so will try and use this method next year. Nice one!

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    1. I has saved us lots of time this year Caro. We haven't had to prioritise whether we pick fruit or weed.

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