Archive for Black weed suppressant sheet

Taking down the runner beans

Over the weekend we had a couple of clear days so decided it was time to take down the runner bean plants.  The leaves had started dying back and there were no more viable beans to pick, so we started to untie the bean poles and pull up all the plants and add them to the compost heap.

old bean plants

I managed to pick a whole trug full of big beans that we will dry out for their bean seeds, which can then be planted next year.

Beans that will dry off for seeds

I also picked our sweetcorn, that hadn’t really riped well enough this year, just not enough sunshine.  I shall cook this up for the chickens, they will enjoy it.

immature corn

Having pulled up all the runner bean and sweetcorn plants we then had to weed the 2 vegetable beds that had contained them.  The soil was wet and claggy so not a nice job, but we got it done.  We then added horse poo to the beds, raked that in, covered them with newspaper and then black weed suppressant sheet, so they are bedded down for the winter.

over wintering vegetable beds

The beans we had picked were too tough to eat so they are drying in front of the woodburner so we can harvest the seeds.

Beans drying

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Putting the vegetable beds to bed for the Winter

Autumn is the time for some serious weeding.  Once we have pulled the vegetable crops from the raised beds we then weed them clean, and want to keep them that way until the Spring.  So firstly we add some well rotted horse poo.

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This is then dug into the soil and evenly distributed.

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The soil is then covered with newspaper.  This acts as a deterent to weeds, but will rot down in time and saves the horse poo sticking to the black weed suppressant sheet that comes next.

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Lastly we place the black weed suppressant sheet on top and hold in place with large stones, of which we have plenty in the  Blackdown Hills.

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This process rests the vegetable beds for the Winter and means come the Spring when we want to plant out, we just remove the black membrane and we have a nice weed free vegetable bed to work with.  Of course some beds still have veggies in them and I have been weeding them madly aswell, but they can’t be covered up yet.  We have done 6 so far with a couple more to do on a sunny day.

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Autumn gardening

The unseasonably warm weather this November has meant we have been able to carry on gardening althougththe ground is very wet due to all the rain we have had.

Firstly we pulled up all the runner bean plants, weeded the bed and covered it with black weed suppression sheet.  We have done this to a number of our vegetable beds once we have harvested all the produce, as this cuts down on the weeds and will give us a head start in the Spring, when we come to seed for the new season’s growth.

Vegetable beds tucked up for the winter

The remaining bean pods that we took down, we dried in front of the woodburning fire and took out all the seeds for next year.  We have so many that I think we can start up in competition to Thomas and Morgan, – we could be Arnold and Arnold bean seed suppliers!

runner bean seeds drying out

We have pruned the Bramley apple tree and put all the trimmings through the wood chipper and then added all the chippings to the compost heap.  We still have the magnolia tree in the back garden to do.

The hanging baskets were looking a bit sad, so we took them down and replanted the half moon baskets with spring bulbs, hyacinths, tete a tete narcissus, and crocus, then put pansies and polyanthus on the top to give some immediate colour.

replanted half moon baskets

I’ve taken out all the dying bedding plants and replanted the pots with bulbs and pansies.  The pansies are all in flower now and the bulbs are already pushing through.

a coule of pots of pansies and bulbs

Tarquin our old black cat likes to sit on the empty pots.  He got in on this picture.

Tarquin amongst the pots

I still have  a sack of daffodil bulbs to plant and wallflowers to put out, but the geraniums , godetia and begonias are still in flower in mid November, so it seems a shame to pull them up yet.  We haven’t had any frost yet to kill them off like we would normally have had by this time of year.

Neil has been strimming back the weeds in the paddock, and gave the lawns another and hopefully  final cut today. He wants to spend another couple of days in the woods, gathering fire wood for the Winter, but  he also wants to create another couple of vegetable beds for this year, and the thinking is, if he does it now, whilst we have all the fresh top soil down, we can cover them up for the winter and stop the weeds growing.

So the Autumn gardening continues.

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Spreading the woodchips

Last week we had a huge pile of woodchips delivered and dumped round the back by the paddock by a local woodman.

Neil and Martin at the woodchip pile

Our friends from back in Langley, Martin and Wendy came to stay last week for a couple of days, and very kindly offered to help spread the woodchip over the black suppressant sheets that we had put down as paths between all the vegetable beds.

So Martin and Neil shovelled the woodchip into wheelbarrows and trundled it up the black sheets to where Wendy and I were standing with rakes to flatten it all out.

Wendy and Martin with the woodchipsWendy, rake in hand

We used the whole pile of woodchips to cover all the paths.  We didn’t have enough to do round the plants inside the fruit cage, so will have to have some more delivered.

Wendy with the rake

Anyway, now we have really nice paths to walk on around the raised vegetable beds.

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Suppressing the weeds!

Whilst the soil here is very fertile and everything grows well, that includes the weeds.  We have been battling the weeds in the fruit cage area all Spring, pulling them up and putting down old carpet to act as weed suppressant sheet, and then spraying the grass with weedkiller until it looked like this below.

killing off the weeds and adding old carpet

Today we laid 100 metres of black suppressant sheet in the fruit cage area.  We cut round the raspberry canes and fruit bushes to cover the whole area, until we ran out of the black fabric.  Quickly went to Ebay and purchased another 100 metre roll so now have to wait for it to arrive before we can finish the job.

Laying the black weed suppressant sheet

A little toad came to join us in the task………….

little toad

We love all little animals here, so he was welcome to join us. 

Why don’t toads, hens, cats eat weeds?  that would make our life easier.

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