COVERING YOUR PLOT

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CHRISDONOHUE

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COVERING YOUR PLOT
« on: September 13, 2020, 02:00 »
For the first time for many years, I am covering part of my plot with polythene sheeting and lengths of carpet.    Previously, I have not had easy access to such materials on the large scale necessary to cover a large proportion of my plot but have now taken over a plot which was mainly covered when I took over.
The main disadvantages seem to me that I give up on valuable self-seeding, may encourage slugs and may get more weeds from not being able to hoe out many of the weed seeds lurking in my soil.   But the advantages of being able to start early next year with a weed-free plot without spending time digging or hoeing and of leaving the soil largely undisturbed for many months seems more advantageous.   Do other allotment tenants approve, have useful advice on good covering materials or are there other disadvantages?

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GraciesGran

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Re: COVERING YOUR PLOT
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2020, 06:30 »
My son has covered half of his with cardboard from the local bike shop, horse poo and black membrane.  His neighbour has an amazing plot and apparently that's what he does. Will see what the effect is in spring.

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Christine

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Re: COVERING YOUR PLOT
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2020, 07:35 »
Our association has had to ban the use of carpet on our sites. People used it to cover areas and then never cultivated them. Digging out carpet when a tenant leaves a plot almost guarantees losing the next tenant who just can't get on top of things.

My practical experience is that I rough dig over as I clear the last crop from now on through the winter. This lets the rain and frost work on the soil so that it's easy to work up a fine tilth in spring. Mind you my soil has had a good 12/13 years of improvement so it's not a rough soil to start with.

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wolveryeti

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Re: COVERING YOUR PLOT
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2020, 15:58 »
My own take is that covering ground is a good way to soften up perennial weeds for removal and maintain ground quality for new planting. I wouldn't use carpets personally unless completely made from natural materials however as I worry about microplastic contamination. I would say cardboard is probably best as you can easily plant through it, it is porous, and it will be fully absorbed into the soil.

I don't rate self seeding or slugs as particularly good reasons to not cover. A bad weed infestation is a much bigger problem than slugs or having to buy in more seeds.

« Last Edit: September 13, 2020, 16:01 by wolveryeti »

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Yorkie

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Re: COVERING YOUR PLOT
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2020, 18:31 »
I agree with the others about carpet.  It's banned now on our sites unless it's hessian backed, but if you've ever tried to lift muddy wet carpet that couch grass has started to grow through and disintegrate, you'll understand why it's been known for people to have a slipped disc trying to do so.  Plus you don't know what chemicals might be in it.

If you have access to massive amounts of large cardboard (like from the bike shop, as someone else mentioned) then that is a good way to go.  You don't want to be using lots of little bits of cardboard - imagine trying to weight down all of those edges!!

I am happy to use good quality woven weed membrane.  Yes, it's plastic but it lets the water and air through to the soil below, and lasts for years.
I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days all attack me at once...

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mumofstig

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Re: COVERING YOUR PLOT
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2020, 21:14 »
I often use cardboard under my weed membrane, it's always rotted away by spring and by keeping the soil under the membrane darker, it tends to stop more weeds as well.
It also means you can use all your bits of old cardboard (except the shiny stuff) and that pile of old newspapers, because the membrane keeps it all in place, assuming you fix it down with pins/pegs as I do...
« Last Edit: September 13, 2020, 21:14 by mumofstig »
Lesley x
I'm not good, I'm not bad - I'm just me, and sometimes I have to apologise for that ;)

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bobbyt

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Re: COVERING YOUR PLOT
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2020, 15:23 »
For the first time for many years, I am covering part of my plot with polythene sheeting and lengths of carpet.    Previously, I have not had easy access to such materials on the large scale necessary to cover a large proportion of my plot but have now taken over a plot which was mainly covered when I took over.
The main disadvantages seem to me that I give up on valuable self-seeding, may encourage slugs and may get more weeds from not being able to hoe out many of the weed seeds lurking in my soil.   But the advantages of being able to start early next year with a weed-free plot without spending time digging or hoeing and of leaving the soil largely undisturbed for many months seems more advantageous.   Do other allotment tenants approve, have useful advice on good covering materials or are there other disadvantages?


I'm trying green manure this year, (Phacelia) should be planted around now though. Apparently it covers all the ground so that weeds can't grow, its scatter sown on raked and weed free ground. I believe Mustard is another variety, there are loads of them. Plenty of info on the web about it. The bonus is when you chop them down and dig them in they provide nutrients for the soil, are also used to break up soil, in that the roots spread. Hope this helps.

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rowlandwells

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Re: COVERING YOUR PLOT
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2020, 20:11 »
i must admit I'm not a poly sheet or carpet man myself but its again every one to there own I've found using roundup or glyphosate does the trick especially for bindweed docks and nettles but if your not in favour of using chemicals then its poly sheeting or carpet

we have found in he past that people who have gave up there plots left old carpets foam back and black plastic sheeting for someone to clear up the mess and it ends up our landlords the parish council having to foot the bill to get rid of it


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basketcase

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Re: COVERING YOUR PLOT
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2020, 20:26 »
I'm gradually dealing with a weedy plot.  I've been trying to use as little spraying as possible.  BUT...

I've just discovered that quite a large area was covered with carpet at some stage and I'm having the devil's own job getting rid of it - especially where bracken took root  :ohmy:   So another vote against carpet here too.  IIRC, it's not allowed on our allotments any more either, but the plot's only just been taken back and sub-divided following the previous tenant giving it up.  I suspect it's been there a long time.

I also decided that if I'm to make any progress getting the place cleared by the end of the month (inspection deadline) it needed a good dose of glyphosate.  Did that 2 days ago and, as it hasn't rained since, I'm hopeful I can get most of it cleared.  If nothing else, I can cover some of it with cardboard etc.



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