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  • FIRST POST
    • Gers
    • By Gers 24th Jul 17, 5:07 PM
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    Gers
    Clearing an neglected garden
    • #1
    • 24th Jul 17, 5:07 PM
    Clearing an neglected garden 24th Jul 17 at 5:07 PM
    In front of my house, across the track and in a field, is an area of fenced off used-to-be-a-garden. I reckon about 10m by 15m.

    In the past (pre-me) this garden was very well tended and had a great variety of fruit and vegetables in it. Amongst all the overgrown weeds and rubbish there are two redcurrant bushes and some lovely rambling rose plants.

    Until the herd of cows broke in to the other week it was very difficult to walk around it, however they munched through a load of juicy thistles and dandelions and assorted other stuff.

    Now I want to have it cleared, turned over, refenced and brought back into use. It's south facing so could make not only a productive space but a lovely place for an open air sitooterie. Could be great for gatherings, raised beds and even (perhaps) a poly tunnel. My ideas are overlapping and rushing around.

    I need some advice about the order of early processes. I wouldn't think that having a digger brought in and the earth turned over should be the first task as it won't get rid of the overgrowth, just give it new life. Of course, I am nowhere near expert on this.

    So... do I have it all the weeds and so on cleared out and removed before having it all dug over? Or will having it dug over first be best to have the weeds act as fertiliser? It's a question of order so please help with this first part.

    Thanks
Page 2
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 26th Jul 17, 3:28 PM
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    Davesnave
    We have done something like this on a somewhat larger, sloping site next to one of our fields, where there's no chance of taking hay. We simply levelled the surface out with a digger, seeded it roughly with grass and then planted trees, leaving some areas clear for pathways.

    The trees and shrubs are planted quite densely and I mow the paths with a brushcutter or mower, depending on conditions, but apart from bit of pruning, that's it. We haven't the time to spend on what's essentially a wild area.

    Alongside the paths is where I've planted flowers that stand some chance of competing with grasses: cranesbills, veronicastrum, ox eye daisies etc. There's also several buddleia in the most open and sunny location. Come the end of the season, these planted strips can be strimmed flat, ready to do their thing again next year.

    There are a few weeds I don't want in this area, notably docks, thistles and ragwort. These I control with a selective weedkiller whilst doing the fields in May. Having reduced the weed seed burden, the amount of weedkiller I use is tiny, compared with how it was eight years ago.

    With an area based on grasses, we don't have to worry about grasses 'invading' through the stock fence. Over time, the trees will grow and shade out much of the grass in the inner core of this area, which is fine. Other things, like cow parsley, which can do most of their growing early season, will take the grasses' place. It will evolve.

    On your site I'd do similarly, reserving one area, maybe close to the walls, for deep beds. By using trees, one can decide later how much space to devote to plants that take more labour. If more space, is required, just cut a few down. If the garden turns out to be more labour intensive than imagined, leave the trees to mature.

    Its a commitment, so flexibility is the key.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • warehouse
    • By warehouse 26th Jul 17, 3:37 PM
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    warehouse
    I took over a full sized allotment plot that had been neglected for years but like your land had some stuff worth saving. I did an hours worth of digging every day and soon started to see the change. If your knees are up to it then it's by far the best way to approach it.
    Pants
    • Gers
    • By Gers 26th Jul 17, 4:31 PM
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    Gers
    Thanks both.

    Knees are shot and back wouldn't enjoy it either. I'd rather have it done and cleared.

    At least I'm on the right track in getting it somewhat back to being a useful space rather than just a neglected corner of a field. I've decided to get it sprayed (apart from the top corner) and then cleared, levelled and then I'll do some more thinking. It the labour intensive part I wasn't sure off.
    • Waterlily24
    • By Waterlily24 26th Jul 17, 5:17 PM
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    Waterlily24
    .................
    Last edited by Waterlily24; 26-07-2017 at 5:28 PM.
    • Gers
    • By Gers 27th Jul 17, 2:21 PM
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    Gers
    Gardener chappie came round last night to have a look, he's going to strim and the spray and spray again if needed before I get the other bloke with the digger to turn and level.

    I've got access to well rotted horse manure to have dug in though I expect the soil to on the good side.

    Exciting gardening times!
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 27th Jul 17, 9:22 PM
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    Davesnave
    Your soil might be OK, but the existence of so much soft rush in the field suggests poor drainage.

    You may need to bear that in mind when selecting plants.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • Gers
    • By Gers 28th Jul 17, 7:47 AM
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    Gers
    Your soil might be OK, but the existence of so much soft rush in the field suggests poor drainage.

    You may need to bear that in mind when selecting plants.
    Originally posted by Davesnave

    The whole area has terrible drainage, so well spotted. It's just a little above sea level and is on the edge of an ancient salt / moss. The sea estuary is very close as is the local river which runs into the sea. When we have a very high tide and tons of rain things get very soggy.

    The sea is visible in the first photo I posted.

    My plan A is for raised beds and (perhaps) pots for a small amount of flowers. All the lovely stuff at the top right will be kept, hopefully once the rambling brambles have been cut back they should thrive.

    I'll still get manure dug in just to give the soil a lift.

    Thanks.
    • Apodemus
    • By Apodemus 28th Jul 17, 8:29 AM
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    Apodemus
    The whole area has terrible drainage, so well spotted. It's just a little above sea level and is on the edge of an ancient salt / moss. The sea estuary is very close as is the local river which runs into the sea. When we have a very high tide and tons of rain things get very soggy.

    The sea is visible in the first photo I posted.

    My plan A is for raised beds and (perhaps) pots for a small amount of flowers. All the lovely stuff at the top right will be kept, hopefully once the rambling brambles have been cut back they should thrive.

    I'll still get manure dug in just to give the soil a lift.

    Thanks.
    Originally posted by Gers
    Yes, Argyll averages something like 156 days with rain and around 1000mm rainfall a year. The latter mainly on any day I pass through! There is a good reason the fort was on top of the hill!

    Your earlier suggestion of a poly tunnel would make sense.
    Last edited by Apodemus; 28-07-2017 at 8:31 AM.
    • Gers
    • By Gers 28th Jul 17, 11:30 AM
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    Gers
    Yes, Argyll averages something like 156 days with rain and around 1000mm rainfall a year. The latter mainly on any day I pass through! There is a good reason the fort was on top of the hill!

    Your earlier suggestion of a poly tunnel would make sense.
    Originally posted by Apodemus
    Ah,you know the area!
    • Gers
    • By Gers 30th Jul 17, 2:42 PM
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    Gers
    The work has started!

    • DaftyDuck
    • By DaftyDuck 30th Jul 17, 2:52 PM
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    DaftyDuck
    Great progress. It looks stunning, with that backdrop.
    • Gers
    • By Gers 30th Jul 17, 3:37 PM
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    Gers
    Thanks DD - they're working like Trojans, now strimming the front of the wall and chucking the pile of vegetation over the fence into the field where I put my grass cuttings sometimes.


    The top right hand corner is looking so much better with the brambles and nettles all gone (for now).

    The rain is coming I think, dark clouds are appearing so I don't know how much more they can do.

    Just to add an earlier view (and the rain has arrived)

    Last edited by Gers; 30-07-2017 at 3:52 PM.
    • chesky
    • By chesky 30th Jul 17, 5:25 PM
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    chesky
    Do you own the land or are renting?
    • Gers
    • By Gers 30th Jul 17, 6:03 PM
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    Gers


    Rain-soaked but strimmed! A sudden and prolonged hailstorm / torrential rain immediately brought standing water to my cleared site.
    Last edited by Gers; 30-07-2017 at 6:07 PM.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 30th Jul 17, 10:53 PM
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    Davesnave
    That is very tightly brushcut!

    So what is your next move?

    Looking at the pics, one wall seems to be south-ish facing. Good to go with deep beds?
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • Gers
    • By Gers 31st Jul 17, 8:26 AM
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    Gers
    That is very tightly brushcut!

    So what is your next move?

    Looking at the pics, one wall seems to be south-ish facing. Good to go with deep beds?
    Originally posted by Davesnave
    Yes! Definitely a number 1 cut there.

    The plan is that the growth will be sprayed with weed killer to get rid of as much as possible. Once it's bare I think (no expert so advice happily received) it needs levelled.

    The whole plot is south facing, it's glorious in sunshine and should be really productive by next year. Raised beds etc. We have access to tons of seaweed and comfrey for feeding.

    Plans...I just need to be patient now I think.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 31st Jul 17, 9:24 AM
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    Davesnave
    Plans...I just need to be patient now I think.
    Originally posted by Gers
    Yes, don't spray until you have substantial re-growth to accept the glyphosate.

    You can then level and re-sow with less coarse grasses, if required. The wild stuff will still infiltrate, but it will help keep mowing to a minimum for a good many years.
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • Gers
    • By Gers 31st Jul 17, 10:23 AM
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    Gers
    I was thinking of putting a deep layer of wood bark chippings down inbetween the raised beds. The theory (for me) is that it will discourage weed growth and give me a better walking surface than grass.

    Is that viable?
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 31st Jul 17, 10:28 AM
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    Davesnave
    I was thinking of putting a deep layer of wood bark chippings down inbetween the raised beds. The theory (for me) is that it will discourage weed growth and give me a better walking surface than grass.

    Is that viable?
    Originally posted by Gers
    Don't see why not, especially if you can find a sawmill and get a deal on a bulk load.

    I might leave some space for a shaded area to sit nd admire the view too!
    'A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they'll never sit in.'
    • Gers
    • By Gers 5th Oct 17, 12:22 PM
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    Gers
    The 'garden' today after weeks and weeks of rain and a storm which lasted from Sunday until this morning.



    SO much standing water! Still, it's looking so much better. Nothing much will happen now until early spring.
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