Posts Tagged weeds

Making new paths

On Friday we had 10 tons of 40 mm scalpings delivered.  This is what a 10 ton pile looks like.

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When we first put down our raised vegetable beds, we laid the paths in between with black weed suppressant sheet and covered them with bark chippings.  These paths looked lovely at first, but after 3 years the bark has decomposed and the weeds have grown in the bark and just taken over.

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So Neil has been digging out the weeds and pulling back the bark to get back to the black weed suppressant sheet.  The bark chippings we have been depositing on the hen run and the hens love it to scratch around in.

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He is then filling the paths with scaplings (stones) to make new paths, which hopefully the weeds cannot grow in.

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This is very physically demanding work and will take quite a long time to do. He is out there again this afternoon, so my job is to prepare regular cups of tea and get on with the roast dinner for tonight.  Also I have to go and iron the bed linen from yesterday’s B&B guests, so I’m not twiddling my fingers even though I’m not helping with the scalpings.

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Invasion in the paddock

We’ve had an invasion in the paddock.  An invasion of Himalyan Balsam plant, which grows tall, over 6 feet tall, and has a pretty pink flower.  The bees love it as they are drawn to the sweet nectar. So we let them have their fill of it.

The pink flowers of Himalyan Balsam

However, it is a weed, not just a weed but a viscous thug of a weed. It spreads and will take over a patch of land. When the flowers go to seed, the seed pods burst and spread the seeds up to 7 metres or 21 feet, so the following year encroaching on more land.

Himalyan Balsam is said to be as much of a nuisance as Japanese Knotweed and needs to be destroyed.  So one afternoon this week, Neil and I went down to the bottom of the paddock and pulled up all the Himalyan Balsam (it is quite shallow rooted) and put on a bonfire.  The next day Neil set light to it all.

Neil with his bonfire August 2011

The bonfire smouldered and smoked for over a day, but eventually that was the end of the Himalyan Balsam for another summer.

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Sunflowers

Ah Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done;”

so starts the poem by William Blake about sunflowers. 

Last year we grew some sunflowers from seed.  They were quite successful and produced big heads.  When they died down I took the seeds and fed them to the chickens.  Unbeknown to us, the chooks didn’t eat them all but left some on the ground.  When we moved the chicken run, these seeds were left to germinate all on their own, and this year they have produced lovely flowers amongst all the other wildflowers (weeds!) that have grown up in the paddock where the chickens used to be.

sunflowers in the paddock August 2011

What is ironic is that the sunflowers I have grown from seed this year are a pathetic 2 feet tall and nowhere near flowering.

sunflower in the paddock August 2011

So you know what I am going to do later on this year when these flowers have died back – I am going to sprinkle the seeds all round the wild part of the paddock, and with any luck next year I will have a field of sunflowers!!

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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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