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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 4
    • Gers
    • By Gers 9th Apr 18, 9:29 PM
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    Gers
    It starts this week! A neighbour is bringing his mini digger along on Wednesday to turn the soil / mud over and get it more level.

    Now I need to set my mind to covering the ground.

    Do I just use black plastic sheeting or is there a better option?

    As for bark...a commercial load? Dumped in a huge pile?

    Once again Iíd be grateful for some advice.
    • glasgowdan
    • By glasgowdan 9th Apr 18, 9:31 PM
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    glasgowdan
    Does it need to be bark or would woodchip do? You may get a tipper load from tree surgeons for nothing.
    • Gers
    • By Gers 9th Apr 18, 9:40 PM
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    Gers
    Does it need to be bark or would woodchip do? You may get a tipper load from tree surgeons for nothing.
    Originally posted by glasgowdan

    After a bit of surfing Iím now wondering if a membrane is needed.

    Thanks Dan, Iíll enquire about woodchip, will it be as easy to walk over and last as long as bark?
    • glasgowdan
    • By glasgowdan 9th Apr 18, 10:13 PM
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    glasgowdan
    Yes it just looks a bit different, and it tends to be smaller pieces so may rot down quicker in the long run. I like it personally.
    • silverwhistle
    • By silverwhistle 9th Apr 18, 11:47 PM
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    silverwhistle
    I!!!8217;m going to start small and I!!!8217;m going to try using a seaweed bed for potatoes.
    Originally posted by Gers
    Ooh yes! The reason Jersey Royals tend not to have such a good taste these days is that few growers now use vraic (and I suspect those get kept in Jersey or for selected customers). I'm not sure what varieties you'd use up there (Arran summat or other?) but I'm sure they'll taste great.

    Do you know any joiners? I've had around 4 dustbins in volume of oak sawdust from my neighbour, which I've used for making firelighters and mixing on the compost heap as the brown element.

    If you suffer from my problem you'll soon need a trip to the pub for their slops: this wet 'spring' the slugs have been worse than usual and scores have come to a tipsy end in my beer traps. I think the neighbours are also used to the nightime prowlings of me with a torch!

    Beeze your garden up for a photy an a', we want to see it with the sun out!
    Last edited by silverwhistle; 09-04-2018 at 11:47 PM. Reason: typo
    • Gers
    • By Gers 10th Apr 18, 8:29 AM
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    Gers
    I'm particularly fond of Ratte potatoes. Missed Potato Day this year so haven't got a selection.

    My question of the day is does the garden need membrane before bark / wood chip? Is a belt and braces approach too much? Will bark / wood chip be just as effective?

    Oh, sorry. That's three questions!
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 10th Apr 18, 9:40 AM
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    Davesnave
    For land you are not using, woven polypropylene is stronger than spun. It lasts at least 5 years, and probably closer to 10 if not subject to heavy traffic. It lets water and air through, but not weeds.

    I mean something like this . There are lots of sources and this is not necessarily cheapest:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Yuzet-09-001002-01-00-Control-Membrane-Landscape/dp/B006H1MBR6/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1523349166&sr=8-6&keywords=weed+fabric

    You can cover this stuff with bark for appearance, but you don't have to. I just move mine around in the veg garden year to year.

    You can also put bark/woodchip etc direct onto the soil surface. A thick layer will suppress weeds but not as effectively as the weed membrane. It'll eventually rot down and improve soil, but we're talking years.

    Fresh woodchip will take some nitrogen from the soil, but I understand it doesn't matter too much in the open garden where there's plenty of soil. Putting it into any potting compost mix is a no-no though. Only composted bark can be used for that.
    I might be old, but I got to see a lot of good bands...
    • Gers
    • By Gers 10th Apr 18, 12:56 PM
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    Gers
    Thanks for the advice!

    There will only be raised beds on this land as the ground is far too soggy for growing and even walking on well.

    I'll explore the notion of membrane a bit more before deciding. Ten years is probably long enough to keep me happy.

    It's exciting to get this long neglected plot back into some kind of use again and enjoy it.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 11th Apr 18, 9:52 AM
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    Davesnave
    Some people plant through membrane, but I'd find that odd for anything other than something big, like courgettes. I suspect they use the thinner, spun stuff which cuts easier, but doesn't last as long.

    I just use mine to cover areas I'm not using, or standing-out areas, because I have a small nursery bit with trays full of pots.

    Best mulch I've ever had is miscanthus bedding from a stable. Old lady didn't clear it for years and I ended-up with many tonnes of it when she went to the great stable in the sky!
    I might be old, but I got to see a lot of good bands...
    • Gers
    • By Gers 11th Apr 18, 12:55 PM
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    Gers
    ]

    Halfway through! Chap has just finished but I have to feed him some lunch before getting back out for a final photo.

    So delighted. He said there's loads of good topsoil there and things may dry out now it's been turned. Still going for bark.
    Last edited by Gers; 11-04-2018 at 1:45 PM.
    • Gers
    • By Gers 11th Apr 18, 1:39 PM
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    Gers


    Looking so much better!

    Chap reckons it's 11 x 14m roughly so that's a good starting point for ordering membrane.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 12th Apr 18, 9:03 AM
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    Davesnave
    Soil does look remarkably good!

    That's the way I 'gardened' here initially, but after laying some drains last autumn, I think there will be little digger activity for me now.....hopefully.
    I might be old, but I got to see a lot of good bands...
    • Gers
    • By Gers 12th Apr 18, 9:43 AM
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    Gers
    Those two bushes are red currants which fruited heavily last year but couldn't be reached without protective gear. I'm giving them a chance to fruit again as red currant jelly / jam goes so well with venison.

    I've ordered membrane and made enquiries about woodchip. Happy days.
    • DaftyDuck
    • By DaftyDuck 12th Apr 18, 2:37 PM
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    DaftyDuck
    Looking good. Remember, that soil will be very compressed after all that traffic. If you do put down membrane without improving drainage, you may suffer extreme puddling.... but only if it rains!

    I'm not the biggest fan of membrane or woodchip as a solution... in my experience, it can lead to more problems than the initial labour invested. All the more so, if your soil is very wet.
    • Gers
    • By Gers 12th Apr 18, 3:20 PM
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    Gers
    Looking good. Remember, that soil will be very compressed after all that traffic. If you do put down membrane without improving drainage, you may suffer extreme puddling.... but only if it rains!

    I'm not the biggest fan of membrane or woodchip as a solution... in my experience, it can lead to more problems than the initial labour invested. All the more so, if your soil is very wet.
    Originally posted by DaftyDuck
    Over many many years there has been many many attempts at installing effective drainage, all to no avail. On the land behind my house (which is directly in front of the field) there are enormous brick made vaulted drains installed in Victorian times. They are big enough to walk upright in. Same as in the field to the immediate right of the garden field.

    Yes, itíll puddle, itís puddling now. At least it will become more useable and productive.
    • DaftyDuck
    • By DaftyDuck 12th Apr 18, 3:57 PM
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    DaftyDuck
    .... as you may have seen from photos on other threads, I know about big puddles Luckily, being really sandy, they go as quickly as they come.

    If the ground stays moist ( you are in Scotland )your bark or woodchip may hold the moisture more. It certainly will acidify the soil, and you'll grow some wonderful fungi.

    It's more work without membrane or bark, but it might be better in the long term. Or worse. It's one of those luck-of-the-draw matters, where you will be wrong whatever you do.

    Sums up life, that does.

    It's looking good, though. Where does the seat go?
    • Gers
    • By Gers 12th Apr 18, 7:45 PM
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    Gers
    As I'm not a gardener at heart covering and having raised beds works best for me. I'm not up for yearly digging, weeding, planting what is to me a large swathe of soil.

    The seating area will be to the left of the entrance and along the fencing as that's facing the sunset. The plot is almost directly south facing.

    Thinking about seating and sundowners (on at least two days a year!) is getting me excited again.
    • DaftyDuck
    • By DaftyDuck 12th Apr 18, 9:32 PM
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    DaftyDuck
    Optimism is a Scottish disease!
    • Gers
    • By Gers 7th May 18, 8:59 PM
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    Gers
    There's a bloke here right now putting down the first of the membrane. He'll come back on Sunday to finish off.

    Fencing bloke has been and measured, he'll cut down and use wood from his own forest.

    Bark it'll be for the ground!

    Last edited by Gers; 07-05-2018 at 9:07 PM. Reason: Adding in photos
    • silverwhistle
    • By silverwhistle 7th May 18, 9:12 PM
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    silverwhistle
    Thinking about seating and sundowners (on at least two days a year!) is getting me excited again.
    Originally posted by Gers
    Have you bought the mozzie net yet?:-)

    That soil does look good. You never thought about a season growing spuds before moving on? I grow in raised beds but the basic clay soil here (next stop France) really benefited from it.
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