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Site Preparation

Evening All, 

I was hoping someone might be able to help and advise on how to best prep the ground in the further over part of the picture below. I was thinking initially of doing a no dig approach with cardboard/compost on top. If anyone has any other ideas, I'd love to hear!

Thanks in advance :)


  • B3B3 Posts: 27,334
    What do you want to plant?
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • HenryPHenryP Posts: 52
    Hi @B3,  if I'm honest I'm not entirely sure! Most likely lettuce, but very flexible
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,847
    What is your soil like and how long can you wait? Cardboard and compost works well if your soil isn't too heavy and you are willing to wait. I have clay and I've found that the best way is the hard work way. Weed it, then dig in lots of compost, whatever you can get hold of, even if bought. Organic matter is the best way to improve your soil. Then, if you don't want to do anything until spring, cover it with cardboard and compost or permeable weed supressing fabric until spring.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,481
    No challenge to any of the above but a roll of 'builders membrane', i.e. sheet plastic, from a builders merchant will smother the weed growth between now and next March, at which time I'd plant the plot with spuds.  They're notorious for hogging all the moisture and nutrients to 'clean' a piece of ground by making life difficult for other crops to prosper.  If you want to have a go soon with your lettuce, by all means use the hard work method on one small plot while leaving most of the area under membrane?
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,922
    It needs to be black plastic to keep the light out … otherwise plants will keep on growing. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,847
    I use permeable woven dark green weed supressant fabric in the unplanted parts of the vegetable garden over winter. It works. I didn't think black plastic was good for the soil, doesn't let it breathe and doesn't let the rain through.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,922
    That’s probably a better solution @Busy-Lizzie 😊  … I was responding to the suggestion of using a roll of plastic from a builders’ merchant which, IME comes in black or clear. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • pinutpinut Posts: 191
    There are down sides to every method.

    The no-dig method is proven to work but requires a lot of ground cover and compost at the beginning to smother the underlying weeds.

    The dig methods also work and have thousands of years of proof to back it up. The down sides are that it requires a significant amount of labour and the land may not be available for immediate use as compared to the no-dig method.

    If I had a mini ploughing machine then I would plough the plot in autumn (around October/November time) in preparation for planting in spring. The ploughing action kills off weeds and suppresses surface weed seeds by turning a layer of soil upside down.

    If, instead, I had a rotovator then I would rotovate the soil starting in spring after the weeds have emerged but before they have set seed. I would repeat the action several times over the course of several months to disrupt and reduce the vigour of weeds before the first planting.

    If I only had a spade then I would double dig the plot - this accomplishes roughly the same objective as ploughing.

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