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How to clear field

We have a small field behind our garden which is really overgrown with weeds , mainly nettle. I want to clear an area to start as a veg plot. I'm thinking to grow potatoes in the spring. Problem is I don't really know how to start to clear. Should I cut down weeds in the area and use weed killer? All advice gratefully received please.



  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,671

    Use glyphosate  NOW, or as soon as we get a calm dry day. When the weeds have died down, fork out any remaining roots. Get as much well rotted farm yard manure as you can, and apply in spring. Plant potatoes around Easter

  • Not sure how large your field is but the important thing is not to bite off more than you can chew. You can always increase your plot later. Glysophate is the best known systemmic weedkiller and widely available in garden centres. Or you could cover with old carpet and leave for about 6 months (est.) Your local carpet shop may be able to help locate some. Potatoes are always a good crop for year 1 as they are said to help you clean the plot. 

    Nettles have large and tough root systems, which the glysophate will attack. Don't try digging unless you are sure you are not leaving bits of root behind to grow next year. It is a bit brittle and breaks easily. Problem.

    Anyway, have a go, keep at it and you will succeed.....image

  • Thank you both for help. WW,-field is too big to tackle all really , but thought I would try as you say a smallish area first. I was also wondering if when I've cleared an area wether to try planting a green manure for a few months or do you think farm yard manure would be better?

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,671

    By the time you have cleared it, it will be too late for green manures to germinate for this year. I would use farm yard manure.

  • One problem you may encounter is wireworm in spuds, common when planted after grass.  It may benefit being turned over so the birds can clear them away.

  • Thank you all. Hoping for a decent weekend to get started then. Best stock up on the Weetabix!

  • Hi, they say spuds are a good way to clear a patch, it always makes me laugh. They clear the patch because of all the digging involved with growing potatoes!

    We find that spreading an even layer of manure on top of the ground ,and only rotavting / digging it in in the spring helps . It looks good and the manure breaks down a bit more and is easier to work in, the resulting soil is like walking on springs!

    My allotment is totaly overgrown this year with weed that has spread from next door allotment. I cut it back with strimmer in July, but it has taken over again and is going to seed. I don't think Glysophate works on weed seed? For past 10 years I have been chemical free, is there another way to control these weeds? Also we have had to fence areas of allotment as the rabbits and deer are eating everything. This year has been very demoralising.

  • Jgill's problem is that the main weeds are nettles so something fairly drastic and or physical will be needed to get rid of them before anything else can be done.Unfortunately nettles will relish growing through the lovely manure you put on top of them.... it will not smother them. Rotovating could chop them up into a squillion pieces to grow on.Does anyone have any first hand experience of ridding the ground of nettles?

    P.S. I would leave some nettles for the butterflies to lay their eggs uponimage.

  • On the subject of Glyphosate, I was advised to buy the 'commercial' product which has a strength of 360g per litre. This is more economic to use than garden centre versions at just 7.2g per litre strength. knapsack dilution rate is 25ml per 1litre of water, 5l pack treats 10,000 m2 (or 2.5 acres) but costs about £39.00 - I did find a site selling 1 litre packs at about £13.00. OK it is highly concentrated so you have to be competent to use it and you need to do the research.
     has anyone any advice about this before I go ahead and buy some?  I will not use it anywhere near my kitchen garden but elsewhere the paths and drive are a problem which this could solve more economically.

  • Alan4711Alan4711 Posts: 1,657
    Hi jigsaw jill Iv just been given an allotment cd,called The Allotment ??5:99 ish its exactly what you need to explain just how to start your allotment off ,were just leaving ours for a new house and allotment, this time we will follow the no dig way all explained in the video (recommended)i personally would cut the nettles and make Nettle tea the dry not smelly way its all on the net and cd, mark off beds cover with cardboard, 8 inches manure,black plastic to keep the light out weighted down and leave , first time allotments from fields as said by Netherfield can suffer from Wire worm,if you start rotovating your unleashing all the wild seed thats been there for donkies years, and destroying the natural life that needs to be there in the first 8/12 inches of the soil,even the farmers dont want to dig unless they have to as the harvest prog shown last night,the paths in between the beds can then be cut or covered all this rotavating and digging just destroys and is hard work good luck Alan
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