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Improved Heavy Clay Soil 'Flower Bed' - Now Grass and Weeds Growing

edited 4 July at 4:17PM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
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click86click86 Forumite
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edited 4 July at 4:17PM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
When I moved into my property, there was a section of my garden (which I will call a flower bed area) that was very heavy clay soil. 

It was the type of soil that is rock hard, grey and has cracks in the summer, and looks like a pond in the winter.

When I moved in, I managed to turn the soil and didn't see any living creatures. A sign of poor soil.

I'm not a natural gardener but I got to work on it to try and improve it.

I was burying grass clippings, leaves, added compost, bark clippings, mulch and even food for composting (bread etc).

The quality of the soil has definitely improved over time...now when I turn the soil, I'm actually finding worms, which is supposedly a sign that the soil contains nutrients.

However, I seem to have quite a lot of weeds and grass growing in there this year and wondered if any one could advise on how I get rid of these?

Any help is very much appreciated as I'd like to get some plants in there (probably next year now) and don't want to risk the plants not growing.

It may also sound like a silly question, but would burying grass clippings have caused the grass to grow?

For the record, I'm definitely going to buy a composter as the soil smelt horrible as the grass clippings decomposed into the ground. Probably not enough brown material.


Replies

  • -taff-taff Forumite
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    ANy uncovered eath is a signal fr nature to cover it with something, so any windblown seeds will take root. Food [ bread] should not have been added. If you want to keep it clear, cover it with plain cardboard and pile something on top to keep it in place while it rots. You can layer up cardboard and grass clippings this year, then dig that in next, leave for a few weeks for any seeds to show their faces in the spring, then hoe and plant.
  • twopennytwopenny Forumite
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    I used to use old carpet when I had a big garden. It was green so blended in lol.
    It was so easy to fold and hide in summer and could be used another year is wanted, the worms and beetles loved it too. Just lift it next spring to a clearish soil that the worms have worked on.
    You could ask at a smaller local carpet shop if you can raid their skip for bits. There are a number throwing out stuff as they open up now.
    Not too much grass clippings when you get a compost heap. They go all slimy and don't rot down well.

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  • click86click86 Forumite
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    -taff said:
    ANy uncovered eath is a signal fr nature to cover it with something, so any windblown seeds will take root. Food [ bread] should not have been added. If you want to keep it clear, cover it with plain cardboard and pile something on top to keep it in place while it rots. You can layer up cardboard and grass clippings this year, then dig that in next, leave for a few weeks for any seeds to show their faces in the spring, then hoe and plant.
    Are you able to elaborate as to why, please?

    I assume you mean bread, specifically. Fruit past its best could be added?

    I like the idea of the cardboard. I will give this a try.
  • -taff-taff Forumite
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    If you put food that doesn't rot very well, like bread, or pasta or meat, you run the risk of attracting rats. Google for what you should and shouldn't put in a compost bin. Essentially, you're turning your spare bit of land into a mini compost bin.
  • ApodemusApodemus Forumite
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    It’s perhaps a bit late for this year, but I would have that area as a veg plot for a couple of years until it gets to the stage that it is more suitable for a flower bed.  Dig it over again and plant potatoes!  
  • DavesnaveDavesnave Forumite
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    Our main garden was a field and dumping ground in 2011, probably about 4' high in grass and weeds at this time of year. Now, it's a  reasonably easy to manage area, but we still get some weeds. Why wouldn't we when so many are wind-sown and others arrive on animals or in bird poo?
    The first thing we did was dig through and take out several tonnes of stones and some clay that came from drain laying. I say 'we' but it was my wife who did that. I just came along periodically and gave the weeds that emerged another hammering with weedkiller. We didn't attempt to do more than plant a boundary hedge for two years, as we wanted to know the weed problem was under control.
    In 2013 we tentatively planted some shrubs and perennials, but left a lot of gaps for annuals and dahlias etc as space fillers. Then, the following spring, we attacked the remaining stubborn weeds, filled-in a bit more and so on. Last year I was still fighting with a clump of nettles that had got among some valued plants, but this year they've not shown.There are no real nasties left, just annual weeds and clover from the horse muck.
    Making a garden is a constant job, not something you do once and then enjoy thereafter without regular maintenance. We are still clearing new areas and weeding through the old. Two weeks ago we discovered about two tonnes of old rubble and bricks etc under the place we'd marked-out as a new bed, so that had to come out. Luckily we have unlimited places to relocate material, but most ends up under paths or as soak aways.
    I think you either resign yourself to a spot of weeding every week or two or take up golf. My golfing friends don't seem to notice their couch grass filled gardens!
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