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|
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.