Friday, November 11

Controlling weeds part one - fruit

Anyone who visits my blog cannot fail to be aware of the fact that we use a lot of weed control fabric.

It all started when we wanted to tidy up our redcurrants. As the bushes were inherited since liberating them from the head high weeds etc we found them difficult to keep tidy and picking the fruit was fraught with all sorts of hazards - not least when I stepped on the entrance hole to an active wasps nest. Back in 2009, we decided to use w.c.f. under the bushes and mulch with wood chippings.
This has worked well and any seedlings that manage to find a foothold in the chippings are easily removed once the leaves fall from the bushes. This year though the bed needs a bit more work done on it as some perennial weeds have managed to push through the gaps around the bushes.

We then gave the blackcurrants bed the same treatment. This time the mulch was well rotted manure.
We also covered several other fruit beds including under our apple hedge. We figured that mulching under the apple hedge could also cut down on any pests that may find winter shelter in the grass that was at that time growing underneath.
It was a much easier job this year when it came to planting up new strawberry beds as the fabric could be laid before the strawberries were planted.
The beds were mulched with wood chippings.
 The honeyberry bushes were also planted through the fabric.

As the fabric in these beds is permanent it is still necessary to pull out any annual weeds that germinate in the mulch but this is a reasonably easy task. Sometimes it is enough just to disturb the mulch by rubbing a hand through it.

We haven't done away with weeding fruit beds completely as some are uncovered as they were too densely planted.
This does have some benefits as annual seedlings that I want to encourage can grow.
Foxgloves also pop up in some of the beds and are allowed to stay if they are in an appropriate spot.

Also I wouldn't wish to deny myself a bit of therapeutic weeding from time to time


18 comments:

  1. You summed up my gardening life in one fragment "if they are in an appropriate spot"! I am far too generous in what I allow to survive and where, much to the detriment of everything else. I must find myself a ruthless hat to wear! I have long thought about w.s.m. for my veg corners, but as the primary perpetrators there are bindweed and couch, I'm not altogether convinced it will work for me. It does keep everything neat and tidy around the bases of the plants and it all looks really good with you.

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    1. We have lots of bindweed and couch grass too, Deborah. I think getting rid of it is a full time job.

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  2. I seem to have alyssum popping up EVERYWHERE now in the garden and I don't mind one bit--it's more to keep the bees interested. That said, if I'm tripping over it in the aisles--well, it's gotta go!
    I find weeding very therapeutic too!
    :)

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    1. I think it is a case of the act of weeding empties the mind, Sue

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  3. All looks great, and the mulch itself provides good habitat for tiny insects and great foraging for birds.

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    1. It does, Jayne and what's more it's free.

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  4. Your fruit beds look so tidy! This year, weeding around the berry bushes got completely away from me but I'm hoping to remedy that next year with a nice thick layer of mulch and some edging. We actually want to encourage the rows to fill in as they are rather sparse still, so we'll be using cardboard to squash the grass and weeds around them as it will eventually decompose and allow more canes to come up.

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    1. The redcurrants bed is ready for a makeover, Margaret. It needs to get back to looking like the first photo.

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  5. Are you finding your soil structure improving with the reduced cultivation?
    I hope I might one day convert you to 'no dig'!

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    1. We never dug around the fruit beds anyway Roger. As for the vegetable beds, that's another story for a later post and digging still features - sorry,

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  6. At the risk of upsetting Roger, I'm also in favour of a bit of "therapeutic weeding" from time to time! With my plot being so compact, it's fairly easy to keep the weeds in check though.

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    1. I like to get down and hand weed< mark - that way I don't get rid of the self sown good guys.

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  7. Autumn cleaning in the garden is quite laborious! Your garden is still green and beautiful!
    Greetings

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  8. "Therapeutic weeding"? .............

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    1. Absolutely, Mal. Don't you find some weeding therapeutic? :-)

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  9. I'm hoping to get more membrane down over the next few months Sue. Forgive me if I've already asked in the past but what type do you use and where do you get it from? I enjoy weeding especially on damp late spring/early summer days but I spend too much time doing it :)

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    1. We buy the 100gms weight Anna. the 50gms just isn't good enough. It's woven - we tried the sort the decomposes but it was just about impossible to manage - scissors wouldn't cut it and it was very flimsy. We buy a width as near as possible to the width of the beds and fold over any excess to avoid unnecessary cutting as the material will fray. We usually buy from Amazon but have occasionally used ebay.

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