We've changed the name of this board from 'Greenfingered MoneySaving' to simply 'Gardening'. This is to help make it easier to find for the horticulturally inclined. The URL remains unchanged for the time being, so all links to the board are unaffected.

Wanting to clear land for planting

Hi And thanks for reading.
Have an acre of land which is totally overgrown with weeds, grasses etc and want to clear it in the hope of growing my own stuff and becoming more self sufficient.
Can you advise on anything which will quickly clear the land, down to the roots, something i can spray on or apply with a watering can, something cheap and cheerful.
I told my neighbours about vinegar, salt, bleach and they could not stop laughing. Do you think i should use these or purchase some weedkiller like roundup gallup glycophosphate.

«13

Comments

  • Use gallup, it wont poison the land and it will kill the roots. Assuming you havent got brambles?
  • xxxxxxxx
    xxxxxxxx Posts: 425 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited 25 August 2020 at 1:04PM
    I am not an expert,

    I would not want to use weedkiller, especially glyphosate on ground I am going to eat from.
    If you did use glyphosate, certain weeds need a lot more, but the majority will die off on a low dose, You could start off with a low dose 30% of the stated dose.  But again, with this rainy weather I don't think it will be particularly effective anyway.

    My preferred method, If I were you,  I would cut it down to 4 inches tall, obviously you will need a decent mower/grass cutter.  Then I use either black plastic 100m rolls - I think the widest is 4m  or ground cover which comes in 5m x 100m rolls  
    If you use ground cover you can reveal bits of it to work on and leave the rest covered, because an acre is going to be a lot of work.
    If you have access, consider asking a farmer to cut it and plow it over for you.

    I have ground which is covered with 2 rolls of 5m x 100m ground cover.  It is in France nad the weeds are particularly aggressive they will eventually grow on top of the cover,  but I am not there to keep them under control,  so I thought about changing it to plastic sheet, but I know that this would eventually crumble in the UV damage.  

    Will cost you about £500 per roll but shop around and get the cheapest.  Mine cost me about £350 per roll  8 years ago.  

    Or get some pigs?, I think they are good at clearing land, and you can move them around as you start to work the areas they have been in? 
  • Mojisola
    Mojisola Posts: 35,556 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    jack_121 said:
    Can you advise on anything which will quickly clear the land, down to the roots
    A couple of pigs would do a brilliant job.

  • The only problem with pigs is keeping them where you want them to be and not in next door's garden or crop. Goats are also a possibility and may be easier to picket and keep where you want.
    On a smaller scale I got a new allotment last year and the advice was to not try to do it all the first year. There's still one bed and a few corners I haven't touched yet and maybe that's an approach you could consider. The material I got to cover some of the beds for weed control was horrible though, developing loose plastic strands where I cut it. Today I bought a heavyweight 5mx4m tarpaulin at Lidl which should last years to control the weeds over winter and you might like to experiment with that approach on a small patch. I also used scrounged cardboard as a weed suppressant and the worms loved it.
  • Davesnave
    Davesnave Posts: 34,741 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Photogenic First Post
    Are you really going to garden on an acre, all at once? With that amount of land you are going to be in trouble, whatever you use, if you just 'clear' it completely. Nature will get back in there before you can!
    I can understand some people's desire not to use glyphosate on areas where they will grow food, but remember that unless you buy all organic fruit and veg, you're likely to be eating stuff produced with its aid anyway!
    Seriously, step back, plan your attack and what you will do with all that land. Section off a bit for food and consider how you will manage the rest. For example, you could make 1/4 acre woodland and farm it under permaculture principles, while another part could be fruit beds with mulched, or black ground cover/old carpet between rows, and so on.
    With an acre, to farm it like a market garden you would need quite a bit of equipment, like a walk behind tractor, or alternatively, animals, which takes you into another ball game.....But whatever you end up doing, it won't be all at once, unless you are minted!
    You could do worse than rough brush-cut most and mow it for a while, till you set your compass.

  • jack_121
    jack_121 Posts: 56 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    edited 26 August 2020 at 11:12AM
    Thanks.
    If chemicals are bad what do you think of altenatives such as vinegar, salt, soap. I have read about this but have no experience. Heard about some people mixing Roundup with vinegar to get the best of both worlds a natural and chemical approach, what do you think.
    Also, in uk as the growing season is relatively short what do you recommed for autumn or winter harvesting. I heard that potatoes are quite hardy and saw winter spinach seeds  for sale at the shops
  • Davesnave
    Davesnave Posts: 34,741 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Photogenic First Post
    Chemicals aren't necessarily 'bad.' I have over 5 acres to control single handedly and, having taken over from an organic person who'd let things go, I would never have gained control of my fields without chemicals. However, I wouldn't want to use them at the rate I did initially for very long.
    Now, I use very little selective weedkiller (not glyphosate) and use sheep to maintain the quality of the grass. We also have a couple of natural areas, and on the veg garden we use ground cover plastics and traditional weeding to hold weeds at bay. The only place I use glyphosate in on the car park and places like that.
    If you mix glyphosate with vinegar the leaves will just scorch and that will inhibit the take-up of the active chemical, so I can't see the point.
    I don't grow spuds as they are available cheap locally, but I have leeks for winter use and Swiss chard that's like spinach. In the polytunnel I get mizuna and some lettuce to grow through winter too. Winter squash starts to be harvested now and that will keep for up to a year.
  • jack_121
    jack_121 Posts: 56 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    edited 27 August 2020 at 12:29AM
    Thanks. I'll get animals to eat the weeds as you advised then use glyphosate to get rid of deep roots or problem areas. Is there a cheap generic glyphosate available, don't want to pay Roundup prices.
    If i were to grow potatoes how do they fare in cold winter weather. Also, any more winter hardy plants.
    Thanks!

  • Davesnave
    Davesnave Posts: 34,741 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Photogenic First Post
    edited 27 August 2020 at 12:42AM
    I'll let others answer on winter planting, as I've covered what I do.
    As to generic glyphosate, Roseate 360 seems to be widely available. As long as it's 360 g/ litre concentration, brand shouldn't matter. Takes 3 weeks to work properly and slow in winter weather.
  •   Is there a cheap generic glyphosate available, don't want to pay Roundup prices.

    As I suggested earlier, gallup. It has 360g/l and comes in smaller quantities. 

Meet your Ambassadors

Categories

  • All Categories
  • 342.9K Banking & Borrowing
  • 250K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 449.6K Spending & Discounts
  • 235K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 607.6K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 172.9K Life & Family
  • 247.7K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards