Sunday, 29 March 2015

The Importance of Edges

When I started out with an allotment, I wish someone had told me the importance of edges. I thought we could just dig the plot over and it would be dug, and grass free - I see some others doing this in pictures online, digging over neat square beds amidst grass paths, and sometimes it seems to work for them. It doesn't work for us. The grass on the paths moves in so fast and so vigorously it's a constant, time-consuming battle to keep it back. It swamps everything. Even the low raised beds we put so much time and effort into a few years ago didn't help - couchgrass roots went right through the plywood, and could easily get underneath a thin barrier like this!
Pretty, but pretty useless.

When we divided our plot up with paths that the grass couldn't penetrate we hit on something; the grass couldn't get past one of these paths. By dividing grassy areas from cleared ones, we finally kept some places grass-free. Hurrah! We also began digging small trenches along the sides of the plot, alongside the grassy paths, about six inches deep and six inches across, and this too slowed the grass down enough to concentrate on doing other things during the growing season! The trenches need some maintenance a couple of times a year (and we do occasionally fall in them!), but they do the job. Woohoo!

So we've been maintaining our borders this week - the cheap weedproof membrane we used for our paths first time round was obviously not made to last and grass was starting to creep through in places - a situation that was bound to only get worse if left.


We invested in some heavy duty woven groundcover fabric, and with the paths already in place, it was a simple enough matter to move the bricks aside, lay the new fabric over the existing woodchip, replace the bricks and top up with more woodchip. The council delivers woodchip to our site regularly for things like this, which is really handy.

One day... one day I will eradicate all couchgrass from our plot!

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