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No dig / suppressing grass
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BadBoyClub



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 64
Location: West Dorset
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 18 10:48 am    Post subject: No dig / suppressing grass  Reply with quote    

Already thinking ahead to next year. I have a large area that I intend to use for vegetables next spring that is currently grassed.

What's the best no dig method to kill the grass without affecting the soil negatively? Also when is the best time to do this?

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 33991
Location: yes
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 18 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

lots of manure and a plastic cover, let it solarise, ferment and settle down, remove cover and plant next spring

BadBoyClub



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 64
Location: West Dorset
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 18 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thanks for your reply.

When is the best time to do this? Better to wait for autumn or can be done any time?

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 33991
Location: yes
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 18 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

now would be ace as the summer heat will get the ferment going.

a bonus is you could poke/dig a few holes in it, add a bit of good compost and plant squash or punpkins to sprawl over the sheet.

Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 5232
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 18 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'd go for opaque plastic, and skip trying to solarize. But I'm otherwise in agreement.

gregotyn



Joined: 24 Jun 2010
Posts: 1659
Location: Llanfyllin area
PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 18 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I would cover it in black plastic now, till autumn-end of September, early October, then remove the plastic, and cover in well rotted manure the areas that will need it, eg potato area and brassicas, and then re-cover the lot until you are in the mood to start gardening. Don't do the carrot ground, or the parsnip area as manure will cause 'fanging'-split roots. If you have enough manure then do the potato area. If you haven't then get some more for the spuds in spring as potatoes can be grown in fresh manure. Pig muck is good for potatoes as it is acidic and potatoes can grow down to ph4. I would also dig the bean trench now and fill with manure.
The main thing is to enjoy what you are doing-the results may not necessarily match the effort!
A lot is geared to soil type, if you are on sandy soil then your ground will always be hungry, on clay soil it won't be so hungry but will benefit from manure to help give some sort of soil structure that will be workable. Ideally if you are on clay soil you will do as little as possible in the winter. Sandy soil will grow earlier crops for you-warms up better than clay soil.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 9834

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 18 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Agree with you generally Gregotyn, but depends on the clay. My father always slabbed up his clay soil in the autumn and let it break down over winter. Clay can also benefit from compost as that improves the soil structure. I garden on light chalky soil, so getting humus into our soil is important.

Nicky Colour it green



Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 8689
Location: Devon, uk
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 18 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I prefer not to use plastic.

I made my no dig veg beds by covering the weeds - couch grass and all - with thick brown cardboard and then a good layer of home made compost over the top. then hoed regularly.

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44104
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 18 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Weighted down cardboard sounds like a good idea, I'd put some muck underneath the cardboard so that earthworms can do some digging for you while it's covered.

sean
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 41868
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 18 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Nicky Colour it green wrote:
I prefer not to use plastic.

I made my no dig veg beds by covering the weeds - couch grass and all - with thick brown cardboard and then a good layer of home made compost over the top. then hoed regularly.


We did ours the same way though with well-rotted horse manure. They worked a treat.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 33991
Location: yes
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 18 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

cardboard is good ,
carpet is ace but avoid man made fibres, wool is great and even adds nitrogen if it is a longish term job
one advantage of clear plastic is that once the no dig feed and clean solarisation ferment and worm work is done a few big hoops turns it into a big cloche or several small cloches for an early start with stuff like broad beans , salads ,alliums etc

the plant through with high feeder copraphiles this summer and swap to autumn planted stuff for spring under it works well

i know you said no dig but a little bit of dig and prep where you are planting seeds or young plants often helps a lot.

re manure . if i was starting with a grassed/"weedy" area and wanted good growing soil i would obtain a layer about 150 mm deep for the first year and add as much as possible under and around plantings after that.
that might seem like a lot but you want a veg bed.

i know you said no dig but if the land is compacted one dig at least 2 spits deep and adding lots of manure and grit if needed is good, after that just top up with manure during the rotation of crop types

worms are your chum and they are not keen on compacted soil. if the soil is stirred a bit they are far happier turning "wasteland" and manure into a nice growing medium.

even just deep spiking it with a fork before adding the manure or chewing it up with a Rotavator will make it easier for worms in a compacted soil

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 18 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

https://www.charlesdowding.co.uk/

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 33991
Location: yes
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 18 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

we all forgot gruntavators, a few pigs will sort the weeds from a plot ever so quickly after that enjoy a bacon butty and watch the plants grow.

gregotyn



Joined: 24 Jun 2010
Posts: 1659
Location: Llanfyllin area
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 18 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I wondered if you may prefer the alternative of raised beds. This gives you permanent pathways round the garden and saves a bit on your back, but also gives beds you are in control of for each season, and you control the rotation better-a few extra plants won't fit then you do a swap rather than add them into another bed which is how you would do an 'open' garden. You can also put up a cover over selected beds, and so put things in sooner, or protect from the early frosts. Those first really early potatoes-yum. A covered bed also allows you to be growing into the autumn when the first frosts appear. I made my first cover frames out of wood but if doing it today I would use blue flexible hose pipe, which doesn't attack the polythene cover like wood- trust me!
Another advantage with individual beds is that you don't step back into something else to admire your efforts-been there a few times. Indeed you shouldn't get compaction from human feet at all. Years ago I did a long covered half bed the length of my veg patch 4ft wide and around 40ft long, half in early potatoes followed by early sprouts, Peer Gynt I think the sprouts were; and half in main crop potatoes, not covered followed by purple sprouting for the following spring. 3ft is plenty for a permanent walkway-wheel barrow and a bit!
Against this it costs a few bob to set it up. But if you go to any large steel factory they are often only too pleased to get rid of pallets that are not returned, I worked in such a place and had a field day!

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 9834

PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 18 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We have raised beds and they are a lot easier to work. If you use weed suppressing membrane on the paths, extend it slightly under the beds though. The sides will rot, so choose carefully. Western red ceder isn't bad nor is oak, but would expect, unless you were very lucky, that pallet wood would need replacing every few years.

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