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Stopping weeds on fruit patch

I spent a huge amount of time earlier in the year clearing a weed infested patch in our new garden. Have now planted currant bushes, raspberries and a grapevine along with various herbs and of course all the weed seeds which were in the soil are now showing themselves 🤦‍♀️
I've just been hoeing the bed weekly and have now covered as much of the bare earth as possible with cardboard but I'm wondering what the best way forward is to not have constant weeding in the future. I have a large compost delivery coming next week which I'm going to spread over the cardboard (the ground on this patch needs some serious TLC over the next few years!). But then I'm wondering whether I plant a 'carpet' of something that will keep the weeds away (grass/clover/any ideas accepted!!), or just to cover with woodchips? Ideally I'd like it not to look like a total eyesore 😂 but if needs must... 

Posts

  • Wood chips wont stop the weeds coming through.
    What you have done is great but it is a constant battle.
    Our blackcurrants and gooseberrbies have old carpets alongside them but still allowing the rain to reach the roots. But these are established plants so they have roots deep down.
    Your plants are still young and you will have to keep tackling the weeds until they are reduced.
    I find weeding far better than hoeing as I can get to the roots of the plants that I don't want.
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,306
    I'm not exactly sure what answer you are looking for. Clearly the hoe has done the job. Just keep going with it. The more you plant an area less weeding is needed but in an area for fruit growing you probably don't want to add too much competition for nutrients and moisture as they establish. Some grass would probably make it look nicer of you can bare to mow it.
    Woodchip is not a bad option just keep in mind it makes a lovely moist habitat for slugs and snails, you don't want to solve one problem and create another one. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • StephenSouthwestStephenSouthwest Southwest EnglandPosts: 372
    I've personally had success with weed membrane, with woodchip over the top, in our soft fruit area, over the last 3 years.
    I'd be tempted to try a carpet of clover, certainly not grass.
  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,306
    Membrane eventually deadens the soil which is not a great idea long term. We surely want it to team with life. I just don't get the dramatic reactions to weeding...and believe me, my allotment plot has lots of bindweed. It's such a satisfying job around the garden, one of the few that gives instant results 😉
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,907
    Put down a thick layer of newspaper and wet it down.  Then cover in overlapped cardboard, then spray that down with the hose.  Finally, top in compost, grass clippings, or whatever else you have to block our light to the soil.  You'll still get some weeds through, like bind weed, but it's much easier to pull out.  Just toss more compost over where the weeds are coming up.  You'll need to repeat this process every spring, and probably top up your mulch during the year.  It will improve your soil greatly, but it does give a place for slugs and such.  And I've had the voles under the cardboard near my soft fruit, chewing the stems in winter.  
    Utah, USA.
  • Put down a thick layer of newspaper and wet it down.  Then cover in overlapped cardboard, then spray that down with the hose.  Finally, top in compost, grass clippings, or whatever else you have to block our light to the soil.  You'll still get some weeds through, like bind weed, but it's much easier to pull out.  Just toss more compost over where the weeds are coming up.  You'll need to repeat this process every spring, and probably top up your mulch during the year.  It will improve your soil greatly, but it does give a place for slugs and such.  And I've had the voles under the cardboard near my soft fruit, chewing the stems in winter.  
    This sounds like a good plan thank you Blue Onion! I definitely need to build the soil back up, I think in the past it was used to grow potatoes as I found a few whilst digging! But doesn't seem like much was done in terms of soil health as it's so dry and compacted it cracks in some parts when it hasn't rained in a while. Thank you for the warning re: voles, do you have any tips for counteracting them humanely? We certainly get a lot of little critters around these ways! 
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