Friday, October 25

It's not just us

Anyone who regularly visits my blog cannot fail to have noticed that we have gone into using weed control fabric in a big way. One of my posts about it is here.

Having been pleased with the results we are gradually (well maybe not that gradually) using fabric to cover other areas of our plot. As an uncovered area is cleared the fabric is going down under a mulch. The only trouble is that the mulch has run out and we need to wait for a new supply to arrive.
Where beds were already covered - for example the broad bean bed pictured below - the plants have either been uprooted or in the case of the beans cut off and the fabric left in place. The broad bean bed was quickly tidied. It wasn't totally weed free as weeds sprout around the edges of the bed or squeeze through the planting hole alongside the plant. One or two very determined individuals also manage to pierce through the fabric. 
The edges of the bed just need a bit of a clip. This fabric will be moved at planting time to the new broad bean bed.

We have also covered one of the blackcurrant beds which involved me being sent to crawl about under the bushes.
It seems, however that we aren't the only ones to use copious amounts of weed control fabric. During our recent few days in Somerset, one of the places that we visited was Barrington Court - I'll be posting photos of our visit at some point soon. Barrington Court has a walled kitchen garden and during our visit what do you think we saw peeking out from under a thin layer of soil. 
As we walked round there were areas where the fabric use was more obvious.
 I was a bit surprised at how far apart the strawberries were planted though!

26 comments:

  1. It's obviously working really well for you. I wonder how long it will last before it has to be replaced.

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    1. For around the fruit bushes it should last years, Jo as it won't be moved and is covered by a mulch. Time will tell where we are moving it around and replanting through it especially if it isn't mulched and exposed to UV

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  2. I have been considering using it for a long time but have not made the jump yet. I suppose for things like your blackcurrants once it is in place it can stay there for a few years?

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    1. We have had some under the redcurrants and apple hedge since September 2009, Alain and it is still doing the job.

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  3. I may follow your example for next year, it certainly helps to keep down the weeds.

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    1. It's given us time to look after plants better, Jo.

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  4. It does seem to do the job and that's well worth it.xxxx

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  5. This fabric is wonderful stuff however I have to tell you the story of my 40th birthday. My hubby is not good at buying presents and decided for this special occasion that a large roll of this would suffice! Speechless! x

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    1. Oh dear that isn't what you would have expected is it, Chel. By speechless did you also mean you didn't speak to him for a while.

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    2. Yup! A whole week I think it was :-)

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  6. I don't know why you don't just use wet newspaper, weeds don't get through it & it's cheaper. Lasts quite a while too.

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    1. It wouldn't be cheaper for us Liz. We don't buy a newspaper and we would need an enormous amount to cover the areas that we have to cover!

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  7. I had a walk around the Which? trial grounds in Enfield yesterday, Sue, and noticed that they use membrane on nearly all their trial beds as well as under the trees in the orchard. As with your plot, all the beds are surrounded by grass and the weeding involved would take up all the gardening staff's time!
    Reading the comment above, I'd forgotten about using newspaper. I don't read the papers either but can get hold of a few free local papers at the end of the week. They would be just the job for my raised beds!

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    1. If you go down the newspaper route Caro it is only a short term solution so can't be used as a permanent weed control under trees etc, In your raised beds you will need it at least 8 sheets thick and covered in a mulch of some sort, Also just be aware that it can increase the acidity of soil.

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  8. I put weed control down around my shed and greenhouse then covered it with stones and planted the fruit trees and bushes through it. Some had been down now for many years and even survived the fire. I would love to have it all over my plot but I don't have individual beds like you as I don't think I have as much land so I don' t think it would be very practical. a shame as I sure do hate the weeds!! I have put it under the beehives too!!

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    1. Having the individual beds does make it easy to use, Tanya - at Barrington they used it over their bedless plot and covered it with a layer of soil. Weed seedlings were germinating on the surface though and I'm not sure how they could hoe on top of the fabric..

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  9. I'm going to try some next year, if I can find where I put it in the garage - maybe over a strawberry plot. At the moment I've covered a small area with some cardboard, and if I get more boxes I'll put more down. I'm not sure if it's going to rot down or what will happen to it, but hopefully it will keep the weeds down for a while.

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    1. The cardboard should work short term CJ until you start planting - do you intend to plant through it? That may be difficult.

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  10. Haha, I just come in from putting down weedmat, was going to blog about it next week. I have it under my strawberries and am growing 1/2 of my potatoes with it. Like you I am getting quite keen on it!

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    1. I'll be very interested to see how the potatoes do Sharon as we haven't used it for potatoes yet and want to try this next year.

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  11. I would be interested in your experiences using weed suppressing fabric and slugs, worms and insects. For instance I find a large number of slugs taking shelter under mine, and also great numbers of wood lice because the birds cannot get to them. My fabric also frays around the edges: is there one you have found that does not fray? Your beds look so good:)

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    1. Attracting slugs was one thing I was worried about sweffling but it hasn't caused a problem. We do scatter a few pellets under the fabric on the grounds that birds and hedgehogs can't get to them. We certainly didn't get any more slug damage to plant than usual. Maybe the covering gives less easy access to the surface - I don't know.

      Ours does fray along cut edges but this isn't a problem at all where in permanent use - it's more when moving the stuff about. The fraying hasn't stopped us being able to reuse it though. You can by non woven fabric which is supposed not to fray but it is thinner 60g whereas we use the 100gms weight. I'd be interested to know how this performs if anyone uses it.

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    2. Should say buy not by but presumably you guessed that! :)

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    3. Thanks very much for that:) I think I may look at the economics of buying the non-fray 60g type but laying it double! I hate the frayed pieces coming off, I found one of our geese with some tangled round her leg the other day.

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    4. Let me know how you get on - ours hasn't frayed badly enough the entrap anything but we do tend to use it full width and only cut the ends which are then buried anyway.

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