Bed opinions!

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Welsh Merf

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Bed opinions!
« on: August 02, 2021, 16:54 »
Obviously, this is not about the beds in the James Residence. It is asking for your opinion on beds at the allotment.

The subject of mares/horse tails has come up often enough, so I won't labour that point any more. However, bearing those pesky things in mind, I'm trying to work out which is the best out of the following options:

a) Raised beds, where the bottoms of the sides are at ground level,
b) Sunken beds, where the tops of the sides are at ground level,

and after a decision about the above two options:

c) A few raised or sunken beds around the plot, so that I can minimise my not-so-light weight on the soil, and have space to go around them with a wheelbarrow and mower/strimmer,
d) A large raised or sunken bed down each side of the plot, with a single pathway through the middle, to give myself more growing area.

The plot is about 6.5M wide and about 15M long.

I'm tending to think that raised beds will be best in order to help control mares/horse tail (and other weeds obviously). But what do you all think? Are there any other options available, that haven't heard of or seen yet? I have considered the no-dig option, but I'm parking that for the time being, until I get some form of control at the farm.

Many thanks;
Merf.
I may be Welsh, but I love ewe anyway!

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Yorkie

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Re: Bed opinions!
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2021, 20:18 »
Sunken beds will reduce the amount of topsoil you have available before you get down to subsoil, and are more likely to have damp issues as it's lower than surrounding ground - which horse/marestail likes.  So for me, I'd avoid sunken beds. 

Not sure how much raised beds would really prevent the plant in the medium term - it grows through concrete and goes down feet.  A slightly raised bed isn't going to give it much extra to grow through ...

If your raised beds are of any height, I wouldn't make them too wide - you need to be able to reach the middle from a bending position.  And they will be costly to fill.
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snowdrops

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Re: Bed opinions!
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2021, 22:11 »
I echo what Yorkers has said, save your money & time on raising or lowering your beds & use it to just pull the mares tail out on a regular basis. Im a no digger (last 4 years) &it really does save on the weeds so I use the time Id spend weeding to pulling up the mares tail or more interesting things. (Sitting in my shed lol)
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Welsh Merf

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Re: Bed opinions!
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2021, 06:27 »
Sunken beds will reduce the amount of topsoil you have available before you get down to subsoil, and are more likely to have damp issues as it's lower than surrounding ground - which horse/marestail likes.  So for me, I'd avoid sunken beds. 

Not sure how much raised beds would really prevent the plant in the medium term - it grows through concrete and goes down feet.  A slightly raised bed isn't going to give it much extra to grow through ...

If your raised beds are of any height, I wouldn't make them too wide - you need to be able to reach the middle from a bending position.  And they will be costly to fill.

Many thanks Growster and "Super Shed Woman" ( :D).

Perhaps I didn't explain myself properly. When I mentioned about the distances below/above ground level, I was only thinking of using gravel boards as sides, which are only 25mm thick x 150mm wide x 2m/3m/4.8m in length. Maybe I should have used the term "edging" around the beds, rather than "sides".

The ground itself is good for two spits deep - it's been worked on for many years, but has been left alone since the start of the original lockdown, when the owner at the time had to move away from the area.

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Yorkie

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Re: Bed opinions!
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2021, 22:32 »
Ah OK.  In that case, I don't think edged beds will really help you control the weeds.  They will grow underneath the edges into the beds. I have inherited edged beds as you describe, of about 3" height perhaps, and they have now collapsed in on themselves.

Edged beds look nice but are again quite costly to create, when it's possible just to have regular beds without them.

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steven c

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Re: Bed opinions!
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2021, 08:02 »
our beds are 8x4 feet we can reach all of the bed without walking on it we are also no dig
which means less weeds [compared to our mate with next plot] we put woodchip between beds
any weeds that get thru this are easily pulled [beds are made of recycled deck boards 6 inch high]
I like the sound of gravel boards costly at first but maintenance free  good luck with whatever you decide
from bow like to grow

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rowlandwells

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Re: Bed opinions!
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2021, 17:25 »
we are lucky not to have mares tail on our plot but my Daughter has that problem we have  spent time digging it out and although we got rid of most of it does tend to appear I have thought about spraying it but I'm told it takes some killing

 if it comes back then I will be looking for a strong weed killer to kill it of not sure if Roundup will wipe it out?

our plot is blessed with redshank but after spraying it for a couple of years  its nearly gone a yearly spray should do the job  :nowink:

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New shoot

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Re: Bed opinions!
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2021, 09:52 »
if it comes back then I will be looking for a strong weed killer to kill it of not sure if Roundup will wipe it out?

Some years ago I worked on a  plant nursery where mares tail was rife.  I did my spraying tickets and then spent an hour each week spot treating the stuff with a professional only use glyphosate concentrate weedkiller.  I used a back pack sprayer and mixed up a full tank a week, starting at one end of the nursery one week and the other the next. I never killed it all but I did weaken it to the extent a tank ended up doing the whole site after a couple of months and then down to half a tank the following year.

Would I spray that much chemical on ground I was growing food to eat in - personally no I wouldn't, but each to their own on that one.  We were spraying for aesthetics and to make sure it did not invade the pots of the large specimen plants we were selling. 

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grinling

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Re: Bed opinions!
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2021, 17:51 »
any beds put in with wood would cause problems weeding.

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Welsh Merf

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Re: Bed opinions!
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2021, 18:10 »
Well, thanks all for you comments.

As you might have seen on my recent diary update, I have now constructed two raised beds, and have enough wood to construct another two (after we've had rain to soften the ground, of course!)

With regards to the mares tail issue, I have made a discovery. Vitax SBK (non-glysophate). I sprayed (watering can) a section and nothing happened. I sprayed the same section again two weeks later, and after the weekend the difference was blatantly obvious, i.e. the whole patch was dead, and none have regrown since then, which was about a month ago. Also, the area within the raised bed that I dug over again after harvesting beetroot, has shown no sign of mares tail.

Obviously, I'm saying all that to make myself feel better. I know I'll be haunted by the stuff again, but hopefully not as bad as the first time. The signs are good, but only time will tell.

Merf.



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