Big Changes On Jennie’s Plot and a Small Tour

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It’s all change on Jennie’s plot this month. The growing is slowing down, so it’s the season for projects. Debbie has laid a patio, trimmed the hedges and shifted the pile of rubbish and compost bins. I’ve pruned and cleared out the weeds at the bottom the the hedge. Together we’ve been working on edging, levelling and landscape fabric.

We all loved Jennie’s plot in it’s original form, simple soil beds and grass paths, but the maintenance load proved to be too high and a few things not so practical.

The paths were too narrow for a mower and a barrow, they weren’t level and in the height of summer – when fully shaded by lucious veg – they just degraded to strips of muddy weeds. The orchard bed was full of bind weed and ground elder, it was also too narrow and cramped.

Our primary objective was to eliminate the grass paths on the plot, which would return to us over an hour a week of quality time, no more stimming, edging and weeding! Then we wanted to widen and level the paths to make access easier with a barrow and safer for Robin.

Once we decided to put down landscape fabric the next logical step was to deep mulch them with wood chips or bark, to further reduce the weeds. We’ve found that fabric alone is not a great solution for paths. To contain chips we would need edging boards, which also solved a big objective of mine, allowing me to apply a deeper compost mulch to the no-dig beds. In their original form the soil and grass were at the same level, so the grass just expanded horizontally into the beds, requiring constant edging. Now – with edging boards – I could put down a two inch mulch and reduce our weeding workload a lot!

This video ends with the job almost finished, we have a little more landscape fabric to put down and we are trying to source the wood chips. Unfortunately chips seem in short supply around here at the moment, so we might end up with bark instead.

Now that we’ve cleared out the orchard bed, we now have space for two more trees and maybe a row of cordons too.

We know that we will still have some issues with the worst weeds, but they will be greatly weakened and contained well away from the edibles. A few strategic applications of weed killer next year will finish the job. Unfortunately digging the weeds out wasn’t possible because their roots are full en-meshed with the hedge and apple trees.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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