Author Topic: Leaving the old and starting anew  (Read 855 times)

Vinlander

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Re: Leaving the old and starting anew
« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2017, 09:25:46 »
I am thinking that I will create a no weed land buffer to this by putting down heavy black polythene after digging.

It's surprisingly difficult to find good black plastic at a reasonable price nowadays. Nowadays if it doesn't say UV stabilised then it won't be, and it will turn brittle in 2 years and to flakes in 3 - unless you cover it with woodchip or something equally opaque. Most builders cover it in concrete as a damp proof membrane so it's no problem to them, and the rest will dump it in a skip rather than re-use it.

If you are covering it then it's easier and cheaper to use the cheapest tarp - it is less likely to tear if you walk on it, and if you do, it will develop tiny holes that make it permeable so the woodchip is less likely to float off. Some weeds may take advantage of this - but they are few and far between and very easy to dislodge - the tiny roots that go through act like a perforated tear-off.

Cheers.
With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.

gwynleg

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Re: Leaving the old and starting anew
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2017, 15:19:37 »
Thanks Vinlander - thats really useful information about the black plastic. I think it could work to put wood chip onto that or a tarp. I have found 2 tarps on my allotments so far though with wood chip on  and lots and lots of weeds! Not sure if they came up or seeded onto the wood chip, but its the devil to get up. I think the problem may be that whoever put it down, left it and didnt weed at all. I am planning to use it as a space between existing hedge of raspberries/nettles and the place I am probably going to put the compost bins. I will have to make sure I put something there that means I have to frequently go there to check on the weed situation!

REally grateful for all the ideas and advice from everyone

Digeroo

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Re: Leaving the old and starting anew
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2017, 15:51:59 »
They had some in Aldi early last year which was fairly reasonable.  Do not know if they will repeat it. 

Vinlander

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Re: Leaving the old and starting anew
« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2017, 10:00:04 »
I have found 2 tarps on my allotments so far though with wood chip on  and lots and lots of weeds! Not sure if they came up or seeded onto the wood chip, but its the devil to get up. I think the problem may be that whoever put it down, left it and didnt weed at all.

It's true that weeds will eventually open those tiny holes into bigger ones (especially the underground couch) but the maintenance is so much easier and quicker than bare soil.

Woodchip gives you about 1 - 2 years before it becomes a growing medium in its own right - but at that point it becomes very valuable as a soil conditioner (you can basically see when the nitrogen robbery has stopped and the weeds start to enjoy it).

At 2-3 years it's brilliant on its own as a really light medium for pots and containers - especially for plants that aren't greedy and don't really like heavy soil - carrots are the obvious example - they taste better in heavy clay soil (more trace elements?) but they don't like pushing through it, so a thick layer of rotted 2-3year woodchip gets them going and the clay waits below with its extra nutrients.

I like to go one step further by using builders bags for cloddy weeds to about half full, then putting weedy rotted woodchip on top to 3/4, then topping up with at least 15-20cm of clean 3 year woodchip for sowing carrots well above the carrot fly. I also put taller plants along the N edge - almost everything seems to grow to twice the size it is in clay.

NB. you do need to hose it well as you build it - especially to soak the strawy stuff - but then you get a population explosion of  slugs & snails, so you need pellets as soon as you top off and sow - or they just razor everything off. I am experimenting with keeping 90% of the pellets in 500ml bottles (thanks to Digeroo) just in case the (invisible) hedgehogs can climb that high.
With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.

gwynleg

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Re: Leaving the old and starting anew
« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2017, 11:44:07 »
Now thats another good idea! Do you mean the really big builders bags or the small rubble sacks?

Vinlander

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Re: Leaving the old and starting anew
« Reply #25 on: October 23, 2017, 08:59:58 »
I use the biggest ones, because I'm keen to get my carrots above the carrot flies' flight path - also I use them for longer than a simple compost heap (occasional top-ups of clean rotted wood chip keep the next crop above the rim as it settles).

NB - I got the general idea from this forum, but it's the woodchip that makes it an ideal growing medium - I also use it to turn trenches into paths (between raised beds) that I dig out every 2 years - so my whole plot is geared up to provide the maximum amount of well-rotted stuff.

Cheers.
With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.

Allotments 4 All

Re: Leaving the old and starting anew
« Reply #25 on: October 23, 2017, 08:59:58 »