Tuesday 15 February 2011

Bits and Bobs

On Sunday I bought Célestine out of the garage for her first proper wash of the year. After Téléthon I had hosed her down underneath to wash away salt and grime, and given her a quick spray across the bodywork to remove anything that had been splashed up, but until the weather had fined up properly hadn't bothered washing her.

Troglodyte houses near les Limornieres
In fact, it was such a nice day that afterwards I polished her and Susan and I went for a bit of a spin, calling in on Alex and Nicole. Alex was inspecting his new toy, a rotorvator, so we arranged for him to come over some time during the week and turn over some patches in the potager.

This he did yesterday afternoon, taking less than an hour to do something I would have contrived to stretch out over three years. The next stage for the veggie garden is to plant broad beans and mange tout, then wait until it properly warms up. The patches we arent using this year, I will wait for the weeds to sprout, then cover with geotextile in the hope of killing them off before next year.



Tim said...

Simon,cover the areas that you aren't going to grow on NOW! Use a thick polyethelene... don't bother with the more expensive geotextiles... they are really only needed where permanent items are going to go.
Bury the edges of the plastic about 3"... this stops the slugs and snails from using it as a daytime hideaway.
If you are going to use the area in the next 18 months, it is safe to just leave the sheeting down.
Even better is to put corrugated cardboard down before the sheet! This gives existing worms something to go at! Use the sheeting to store mowings from the verger.
The fossil seedbank that Alex has just rotavated to the surface will still sprout, but will rapidly die off.
A quick rotavate next year, incorporating the mowings, will give you a humus rich, fine tilth.
Been there, done that.

SweetpeainFrance said...

Old carpets work a treat too! Why not sow clover or any other nitrogen enriching plant. Just because a plot is fallow it doesn't mean you have to make it a waste space surely? Why not scatter/sow wild flower seeds or even "dried flower" seeds, then you have gifts in the Autumn or make a giant pumpkin patch. NO .. certainly don't wait for weeds, which are in fact wild flowers just growing in the wrong place for you! Take control and get the land to deliver!

Tim said...

Simon won't make a giant pumpkin patch! I agree with the use of green manures but please don't use carpet... the carpet leaches chemicals used in its manufacture [mainly azo-dyes] into the soil. And if you use a real wool carpet you have the added problem of what happens when the carpet starts to break down... it may be all wool, but either the warp or the weft has nylon fibres re-inforcing the thread. These then form thin 'spaghetti' all over the garden!
It cannot be cut with a spade and makes digging a pain... and would probably jam Alex's new machine.
NB: Use of carpet is now banned from the vast majority of allotment sites... and the NSALG recommend a blanket ban across the country. But you can still use carpet at the bottom of a pond to protect the liner from sharp stones.

Simon said...


I have no idea where I would get carpet anyway.

I will buy some black plastic. but rake a pile of leaves onto the beds before covering


Tim said...

Leaves work fine! As does cut grass... we did our p#mpk##s on a bit of allotment we were trying to reclaim from the grass by putting all the strimming under the sheet each time until they were ready to plant. Made holes and filled those with fresh compost and planted said p#mpk##s in the compost. Would work for corgettes and cukes as well. Then you get a crop from the unused land.

Mark Percival said...

Simon (I used to work with Susan at the AGI) why not use the plastic but also make it productive at the same time? Plant potatoes through holes in the polythene and just leave - the yield won't be as good as using the normal method but you will get a crop and have done no more than put the polythene down!

Simon said...


I think I will do something like that, but with melons. So much better than potatoes.

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