Wondering what we've got ourselves into

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Tenhens

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Re: Wondering what we've got ourselves into
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2020, 16:25 »
WOW!!
Would love the prospect of putting that to use .
One approach would be to measure and mark out potential areas , sit back for a few days or longer and see if your first thoughts still hold true. When Monty took on Longmeadow he spent quite a while mapping out in his mind what he was going to do , no doubt changing ideas many times over before he finally picked up a spade.

When you do start take photo's as you progress , it's easy to forget what it was like at the beginning .
I know very little about ducks but have kept chickens for the last few years , lovely eggs and great manure for the compost heap.

Good luck 
we also rescue rabbits and guinea pigs,grow own veg

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CHRISDONOHUE

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Re: Wondering what we've got ourselves into
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2020, 12:40 »
Charles Dowding demonstrates the use of cardboard topped with compost/mushroom compost on grass to quickly create a no-dig area.   Although you want it to be no-dig in the long term, there is nothing to stop you digging out the couch grass in the first year and then subsequently making it no-dig.  Couch grass stacked up in a pile will rot down well and produce good compost even if you do not have a compost heap currently.   If you doubt this advice, you can always either dry it or wet it in a big tub until it is dead.   However, covering as much area as possible with any material that excludes light will kill all the couch grass under it in a year.   Since you have a vast area and you are unlikely to be able to cover the whole area initially, I would search out in your locality any discarded carpet - ignore those who warn against this - or tarpaulin or plastic sheeting and cover as much as possible.  Cardboard is fairly fragile and will break down into the soil fairly quickly probably before it has sufficiently killed the couch grass and usually comes in fairly small areas.   It probably needs to be weighted down if it is to stay in place for any length of time

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New shoot

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Re: Wondering what we've got ourselves into
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2020, 11:24 »
I would search out in your locality any discarded carpet - ignore those who warn against this

No please don't ignore warnings about using old carpet.  When carpets were made of wool with hessian backing, people did use them and they gradually broke down into the soil.  Now most are nylon with foam backing, so they degrade, the weeds grow through and you end up with a mess.

See earlier thread where carpet was suggested and several people posted with some good reasons  not to use it.

https://chat.allotment-garden.org/index.php?topic=133442.0

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mrs bouquet

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Re: Wondering what we've got ourselves into
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2020, 11:47 »
You don't have any contacts that could put some grazing animals on that for a few days?

Belted Galloway cattle will clear it, and there are people, who keep them and will bring them to you for that purpose.    Good luck and welcome to our Forum.     Mrs Bouquet
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jambop

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Re: Wondering what we've got ourselves into
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2020, 13:16 »
I would search out in your locality any discarded carpet - ignore those who warn against this

No please don't ignore warnings about using old carpet.  When carpets were made of wool with hessian backing, people did use them and they gradually broke down into the soil.  Now most are nylon with foam backing, so they degrade, the weeds grow through and you end up with a mess.
See earlier thread where carpet was suggested and several people posted with some good reasons  not to use it.

https://chat.allotment-garden.org/index.php?topic=133442.0

Clearly situation with carpets as a blinding method is a material issue. If those who use them are vigilant then I don't see an issue provided what they use is not poisonous to the soil. I use a woven plastic material to cover my strawbs without problem but I suppose if it was left too long it would fall apart;

Edit to remove newest comment from the  quote
« Last Edit: October 09, 2020, 13:54 by mumofstig »

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CHRISDONOHUE

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Re: Wondering what we've got ourselves into
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2020, 16:49 »
I recently took on an allotment covered largely with carpet of various kinds and quality which did the job expected of it, covering fairly large areas of ground without needing many weights on it to keep it down and, crucially, excluding light.   Excluding light kills virtually all the weeds under it with the exception of bindweed and ground elder and preventing new weed seeds in the soil to germinate.   Carpet of this quality does not break down over time as cardboard does nor do you want it to, it remains intact.   I have had previous experience of inheriting an allotment from people who have managed to create an allotment path consisting of several layers of carpet thoroughly inundated at every level with couch grass which took a long time for me to reduce it to a single layer, so I can understand that people can have bad experiences from using carpet.   I can also understand why, because of such experiences, some allotment managements may take the draconian decision to ban all carpet.  But using an appropriate quality and size of carpet - it really does not have to be pristine or in terribly good condition - wisely and sensibly is a good solution, hence my advice to ignore those who warn against it.   Things are not dogmatically wrong because in some circumstances they may create problems and we need to recognise that there may be diversity of opinion.   We need to warn of possible dangers while affirming possible benefits and remain open-minded and tolerant of those whose opinion differ from our own.

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New shoot

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Re: Wondering what we've got ourselves into
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2020, 17:43 »
I recently took on an allotment covered largely with carpet of various kinds and quality which did the job expected of it, covering fairly large areas of ground without needing many weights on it to keep it down and, crucially, excluding light.   Excluding light kills virtually all the weeds under it with the exception of bindweed and ground elder and preventing new weed seeds in the soil to germinate.   Carpet of this quality does not break down over time as cardboard does nor do you want it to, it remains intact.   I have had previous experience of inheriting an allotment from people who have managed to create an allotment path consisting of several layers of carpet thoroughly inundated at every level with couch grass which took a long time for me to reduce it to a single layer, so I can understand that people can have bad experiences from using carpet.   I can also understand why, because of such experiences, some allotment managements may take the draconian decision to ban all carpet.  But using an appropriate quality and size of carpet - it really does not have to be pristine or in terribly good condition - wisely and sensibly is a good solution, hence my advice to ignore those who warn against it.   Things are not dogmatically wrong because in some circumstances they may create problems and we need to recognise that there may be diversity of opinion.   We need to warn of possible dangers while affirming possible benefits and remain open-minded and tolerant of those whose opinion differ from our own.

Well thank you for clearing that up Chris, but I was just pointing the OP at a more balanced view including the downside of using carpet, rather than telling them to ignore anyoneís opinion or advice  :)

Perhaps I read it wrong, but that seemed to be what you were suggesting    :unsure:

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Growster...

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Re: Wondering what we've got ourselves into
« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2020, 18:07 »
When we took on (re-took) our plot a few years ago, the carpet was a mixture of all sorts of rubbishy stuff, and almost totally interspersed with couch and dross. It was like steel wire!

I had to literally dig it out with a spade after trying to cut it loose with a Stanley knife, and luckily, we all had a rough place on an un-diggable plot well away from everyone else which was too far gone, with some trees even about 8" in diameter! This was where we all managed to stick such items, because we really needed it! (It grew some great comfrey though)!

The carpet hadn't killed the couch grass, just nurtured it, and I think I mentioned years ago, how long it took to clean the plot - around an hour a square yard.

Never again Pedro!

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CHRISDONOHUE

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Re: Wondering what we've got ourselves into
« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2020, 20:43 »
If you let couch grass establish in a carpet, it will use the carpet as an excellent growing medium.   But the fact that someone has previously let this happen and has failed to discern the problem and manage it appropriately (possibly because the allotment has been given up) should not stop you using carpet to exclude light and kill couch grass.   The problem relates to the people and their management, not the carpet.  As I explained, I have had a similar experience to yours with couch-grass established in (actually 3 levels of) carpet.   I know from personal experience how time-consuming it is to remove it.   But this does not stop me using similar material wisely and judiciously.

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JayG

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Re: Wondering what we've got ourselves into
« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2020, 21:07 »
Not everyone is as wise and judicious as you are CHRISDONOHUE - most members are merely looking for simple advice as to what works and what doesn't.
No need to risk using any sort of carpet as a weed suppressant when there are easily available alternatives with no currently known downsides.
Sow your seeds, plant your plants. What's the difference? A couple of weeks or more when answering possible queries!

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Aunt Sally

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Re: Wondering what we've got ourselves into
« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2020, 23:14 »
Carpet is banned on a number of allotment sites including mine.

Some carpets can leach unpleasant chemicals into the soil too.
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Growster...

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Re: Wondering what we've got ourselves into
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2020, 04:59 »
Carpet is banned on a number of allotment sites including mine.

Some carpets can leach unpleasant chemicals into the soil too.

Too right, Aunt, and as we found out, the old underlay gets chucked on as well, and the mice and rats just love it all. We spotted several 'runs'!

Apart from all this, carpet just looks damned ugly!

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jambop

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Re: Wondering what we've got ourselves into
« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2020, 11:38 »
It would appear that personal experience in the use of carpet as a weed suppressant varies from one user to another. I have never used it so cannot really comment but I would use it if I knew that it would not leach anything toxic into the ground.
I am just about to start blinding off my beds using some corrugated cardboard I have stored over the last few months, it would be good to know just how safe this is to use. I know many have used it so assume that it is safe.

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snowdrops

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Re: Wondering what we've got ourselves into
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2020, 12:42 »
Jambob, I believe brown cardboard to be safe to use as the glues & prints used these days are vegetable based so no threat of contamination. I base this on reading things from far more experienced & qualified gardeners than myself, & if itís good enough for them it will do for me.

I have used hessian backed carpet years ago before any thought of contamination was ever thought of but I most certainly wouldnít now, and thatís without the matter of weeds growing through etc. As always what we do on our own patch of earth is up to us but as we never know how long we are going to be custodian of that patch I think it is wise to consider our legacy to others & why I wholeheartedly agree that carpet should not be used on allotments etc.
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Blewit

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Re: Wondering what we've got ourselves into
« Reply #29 on: October 12, 2020, 07:54 »
I am just about to start blinding off my beds using some corrugated cardboard I have stored over the last few months, it would be good to know just how safe this is to use. I know many have used it so assume that it is safe.

Non-shiny corrugated cardboard is made from wood pulp. The corrugated and flat parts are glued together with food starch (derived from rice, corn, maize etc) and some boards are sealed lightly on the outer flat faces, again with food starch. So yes, it should be safe to use.

Carpets are banned on our lotty site too. I've seen so much of it left behind for subsequent tenants to deal with.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2020, 08:00 by Blewit »



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