Posts Tagged couch grass

Busy weekend…

Handprints in the compost

 

 

 

Got down the allotment about 10:30 and dug in the mushroom log. To counteract the heat of the sun and the current lack of tyres I covered it over with an empty compost bin and wet it.

I also dug a trench for the mangetout and prepared a cane climbing frame. Unfortunately I made the mistake of digging and seeding the wrong way (into the wind) which of course when the plants are growing will be like a fence. We shall soon see the strength of my scout lashings and beanpole construction.

The neighbours who skimmed their topsoil to remove the couch grass made huge stacks on the corners of their plot. Last thing on sat they told me I could take as much as I liked. Whilst the soil is very very dry and very fibrous due to the amount of dead couch etc I needed soil to fill my final raised bed for my three sisters planting. I transported almost half of their giant stacks across and dumped it in my box with a car load of manure and covered over with weed suppressant membrane. I know some of that couch is likely to spring back to life, but with the manure and membrane we ought to be able to fight it off till it _finally_ dies!

Planting out

 

 

 

I planted up some butternut squashes and the girlfriend planted up a lot of seeds into the veg bed shes been preparing. We’ve got a few root veggies, plenty of rocket (no, enough to feed the five thousand _easily_) and some sprouts which I personally detest. I’ve got my money on the slugs destroying them!

Helen

 

 

 

Finally met the last neighbour adjoining my plot – nice guy whos wife is a horticulturalist. We discussed why my rubarb leaves are now red – it’s probably the frost we’ve had but it may have been over manure (seeing as it is in a pure manure bed it’s always a possbility!

I decided to plant a few sunflower seeds up and around the spare poles – always best to keep the birds happy as they can pick off the slugs I’m going to leave out for them – it reminds me to create a slug table for them.

I stuck down a few more sheets of the weed membrane in the hope of killing more couch grass so digging is easier for next year, but I hold little hope it’ll actually work. I’ll probably manure on top this weekend so the worms do most of the work for me.

Just as I was leaving the plot I met an old lady who burdened me with a few sweet potatoes. these particular tubers were grown from a Waitrose pack some five years previously and she’d been passing them off to each and every allotment holder since. I’ve not had sweet potato but since I don’t like swede or similar I suspect these may be for the girlfriend rather than me. They did however have a large number of holes through them, so I’m a little worried by this – perhaps it’s disease?

Spent about 10 hours total, photos to come.

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Sheet Mulching

sheet mulching diagramFor those interested in sheet mulching here is a diagram I prepared earlier – apologies it was drawn in paint (that ultimate graphic design tool) though if you click on it, it’ll open larger in a new window.  Feel free to use it where ever you want – if you’d let me know where even better.

Sheet mulching is similar to how nature prepares soil for new growth.  Imagine a winter scene where leaves are falling onto the ground.  Beneath the leaves is the end of the years growth, animal droppings etc – all good compostable material.  The leaves provide  a new layer on top that stops weeds from routing.

Similarly we’re laying down a layer manure between the old growth and compacted soil then a layer of mulch.  The cardboard stops any original weeds working their way through.  For my experiment I am using a double layer of cardboard in my beds.

The worms and soil beasties (inc fungus etc) work their way up into the manure and break it down into lovely soil.  The mulch protects the soil being compacted by the natural elements leaving nice, loose soil.  This’ll mean I can simply pull out my crops (as can animals).

Permiculture teaches us to live with the animals (ie providing them with food as well) so that’s not a problem.  They will eat the food, provide more manure and possibly eat other creatures that are less desirable.  I’d love to encourage ducks onto my plot – the ultimate in slug destructors.

For more regular progress I highly recommend you join us in http://forum.downsizer.net (grow your own) as I hope to post my progress and chat about the project.  Come… join us.

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