Thursday, 1 May 2014

Weed and Grass - Horticulturally Speaking

Posted by Rosie

With a large garden to look after there are 2 things at this time of year that are hard to keep on top of - the amount of both grass and weeds that are growing.  I need help keeping on top of both!

The pigs eat a fair chunk of the cut grass but with their fields also full of grass at the moment there is only so much they can chomp their way through. I can compost some but add too much to the compost heap and without careful addition of other drier ingredients you could all too soon end up with a slimy very non-compost-like mess!  So I need another solution ... and it comes in the form of using the grass to control the weeds!  I use the grass cuttings as a natural mulch to suppress weed growth.  It doesn't stop all the weeds but the few large ones that do grow through are then much easier to pull out.  I can't however use it around all plants - it doesn't work say around the strawberries as you end up with grass sticking to the fruits, but it is great between larger plants such as potatoes and cabbages. 

Grass mulched cabbages


I need to weed through the strawberries though.

I also use another method with pumpkins and courgettes.  Remember the weed suppressing fabric I use in the winter?  For really large plants like the pumpkins I simply cut a hole in the fabric and plant straight through it into the soil below. 

Both the grass and the fabric also serve to retain greater amount of moisture in the soil which takes longer to evaporate from the surface.  The only slight disadvantage of this method is that it can increase snail and slug numbers as these creatures like the damp grass or fabric to hide under.  Luckily I do not have huge populations of either of these and once the plants are big enough they are not at risk from slugs and snails anyway.  I tend to plant them out as big as possible and keep back a few extras in case some get eaten.  All in all the benefit of suppressing weeds and retaining soil moisture far outweighs a few losses to our slippery friends.


Mystery plant 2014
This week I bought myself a new plant to grow on in the polytunnel.  Each year I like to try something totally new - some new plants are successful such as the cape gooseberries I grew a few years ago, some are OK such as the sweet potatoes I grew last year and some fail completely such as my attempt to grow water melons!  That was in my first year with the polytunnel so maybe I'll give them another go sometime.  This is my new plant for 2014 but has anyone any idea what it is?

Have you been busy in your garden this week?  Do let us know and then you can pop on over to Mammasaurus's How Does Your Garden Grow blog link for more garden updates.


Mammasaurus and How Does Your Garden Grow?

28 comments :

  1. We have just taken on an allotment which is covered with grass, so using the cut grass as a weed suppressant and mulch sounds like a great idea!

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    1. Just don't put it too thick or it goes slimy!

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  2. I weed, you weed, we all weed .... OK I'm getting silly now! We have adopted the natural look of unweeded gardens! Very environmental. Jeff reads Le Canard Enchainé and they recently exposed a big story about Round-Up and how it is linked with the growing occurrence of gluten intolerance. Interesting stuff. The Canard isn't online so I can't give you a link sorry. Controlling weeds naturally is definitely the way to go.

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    1. Hate chemicals and never use them in the garden - I too would rather have the au natural look!

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  3. What a great way to use up grass cuttings! No idea what the mystery plant is, I'm hopeless when it comes to the name of things!

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  4. Ooooo I have no clue what that is, though I am staring at it's leaves closely.... On closer inspection I have spied the image name - is it... a Peanut plant ?! Or am I losing my mind....

    I love hearing what's going on in your garden, you are always up to something new and different! Thanks for joining in my possibly-peanutty friend :)

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    1. LOL and well done Annie - I did wonder if anyone would look at the image name. it is indeed a peanut plant :)

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  5. Grass cuttings as mulch is a great idea! Hope you manage to find out what your mystery plant is. Could it be a very young fig tree (bit of a guess)?

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  6. I have no idea what the plant is either but looking forward to the reveal!

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  7. it would be hard because you have such a large space to spray but i read on pinterest that vinegar and water are supposed to get rid of weeds

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    1. I have used vinegar, salt and washing up liquid with great success in killing thistles in the play area.

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  8. No idea on the plant, but great to read your post, what a great idea

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  9. I can already imagine the fabric cover. It is a clever solution actually. I hope you can work out on how to sort that prob out =)

    On that plant as everyone is giving a guess, ill guess too! Cuz its fun =P

    A lemon plant?

    probably not but at least I tried #HDYGG

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    1. Nope, not a lemon, it's a peanut plant.

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  10. Would love a poly tunnel but sadly it would take up most of our garden! We used to have an allotment but it was just too much to keep up, I am tempted to go back on the waiting lust for one though.

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    1. Could you share an allotment with some-one or just get a half?

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  11. Gosh I have no idea on the plant Rosie. Great idea with the mulch though. Sounds like you have a huge job there!

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    1. No Jane - a peanut plant! Saté it'll be later then!

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  13. oh that's a good idea, I hadn't realised you could use grass cuttings for those purposes! I have no idea what that mystery plant is! x

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  14. Weeds seem to be an on going battle don't they? It is lovely to see everything growing well! We use our grass as a mulch around the conifers x #HDYGG

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    1. I'm away for a week soon and I dread to think what the weeds will do when I am away!

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