The last couple of years have been tough with my allotment as the weather, work commitments etc have restricted the time I can spend on the plot. I am therefore finding it difficult to keep on top the weeds. Other plotholders have started to use membranes after digging to help stop weed growth so that come the spring it is not such back breaking work. I'm finding it difficult to find something that is good enough quality to last but not too expensive. Can anyone recommend anything?
I had thought of a couple of large tarpaulins but wonder if this would simply harbour pests too much but most of the weedproof membranes I have seen recently is either far too narrow, far too thin or far too expensive. My allotment is 6.6m wide and over 125m2.
Whatever you use it should let water through, black plastic is no good. I use a sort of woven fabric, which isn't cheap, but it lasts. I cut long thin holes for planting peas in rows, far apart big crosses in it for planting courgettes, cucumbers and butternut squashes and fairly close together crosses for planting onion sets, crosses a little further apart in rows for French beans. I leave the fabric in the winter and remove in the spring for digging and manuring, then replace it, rotating for crop rotation. I don't use it for potatoes because of earthing up or leeks because of trying to dig them up in winter. Great for tomatoes too. It keeps the moisture in and I haven't noticed any extra pest problems. In fact I think there are fewer slugs because they dn't like crawling over it. Mine comes in metre wide rolls and you peg it down with big metal staples or tent hooks.
Why don't you ask the other allotment holders where they got theirs?
I ordered 100 m of 1.5m wide weed suppressing membrane off Amazon for £38 which I think is pretty impressive value. Even if you have to use 2 layers it only works out about £75 to cover the entire area.