Thursday, 26 January 2012

clearing perennial weeds organically

We have removed barren cherry trees from our reclaimed 'hidden orchard' and now want to create a vegetable garden using raised beds.

But the soil is infested with nettles and brambles as well as a network of roots remaining after tree stumps have been removed. How can this ground be turned into a weed free, productive garden?

I will clear a lot of it by hand, but digging perennial weeds from large areas of ground is hard, tiring and unpopular work.

And there are so many other, competing priorities that clearing all of this ground with mattock and garden fork is not an option. And using weedkillers won't be considered.

Some time ago, Garden Organic suggested an alternative method in their magazine.

They showed how an area infested with perennial weeds could be cleared by covering the ground with a layer of cardboard and weighing this down with organic matter.

The light is excluded from the perennial weeds and over time these die, allowing the gardener to plant through the mulch of organic matter into the soil below.

So, I'm embarking on an experiment.

I need large quantities of cardboard but friends are supplying this. More cardboard needed!!

I need large quantities of organic matter - and neighbours with stables are providing this.

Here you see two trailers of manure applied to a layer of cardboard.

The photo shows progress so far. It doesn't show the vast area still to cover!!

But as Chairman Mao told his followers before the long march:
'The longest journey begins with a single step'.

Weed free vegetable garden, here we come!!


Spencer Drew said...

I have the garden master's bucket garden, and it does not grow any weeds. No weeds = less work. I am all for that!

Rob said...

I'll have some of that, Spencer!!

Phil (Smiling Gardener) said...

Hi Rob, here's a link to an article I wrote on sheet mulching:

(You don't have to approve this comment - I just thought the article might be useful to you).

Rob said...

Phil - a really useful link. 'The Lasagne Garden'!! Love it!! I'll follow your advice. Rob