This is my first winter with an allotment, so I was wondering how do people tackle the weeds at this time of year.
Does anyone use the weed membrane or plastic? Are there pros and cons to leaving the ground uncovered or to covering it?
Thank you. Kamila.
I've never covered my ground, a good dig in autumn and "if" anything appears over winter, hoed off. Regular maintenance, throughout the year, makes for "easy life". Carpets leech toxic chemicals and also block the sun from promoting useful bacteria and fungi's life cycle. See a book called (Teaming with Microbes) The Organic Gardeners Guide To The Soil Web Site........... Colin and Elaine will love it, guaranteed.......awesome reading to the time served gardener.
Anna B said:
I used to cover my plot with black 'weedex' or carpet. This suppressed the weeds but they just grew rapidly once I uncovered it in the spring and it was hard work. Now I simply dig it over and leave it in loose chunks before the frosts and let the winter do its work. Leaving the ground exposed means that the frost gets in and kills off any slug eggs etc.. It's also really easy to dig over again and start planting in for spring. I tend to weed it at the start of spring, leave it two weeks so new 'weedlings' appear then hoe those over before planting. I never cover over my beds anymore, it's more beneficial to me not to. Hope this helps! Anna :)
i just dig everything over in the autmn as i clear the crops, then cover in as much manure that i can barrow, leave over winter. In the spring i just dig in the manure that the winter has broken down, leave a week or so, and start planting out. Any weeds that have started popping up are young and easy to deal with. I find winter also kills off lots of the bugs and i think covering just gives the bugs somewhere nice and snug to hide for the winter!
Just the one piece of advice. NEVER use the cheap plastic groundsheeting that you can buy from poundshops and suchlike. Cheap as it is, it will breakdown into virtual "dust" within 6-12 months and will be almost impossible to remove completely from your soil. Unless you fancy "blue/green" soil that is.
Thank you to everyone for their replies.
I dont cover my beds and hand weed them as I go along. Have been doing this for a number of years now and this keeps weed burden down to manageable numbers. Must admit though in the first few years some beds were really bad and I used round up in the autumn for a couple of years. Its just what you prefer and sometimes how much time you have available.
I usually cover my beds with compost in autumn, then a dig over in spring, and off we go! As Andrew said weeds are always going to appear - it's nature, just keep hoeing.