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'Restoring' a fruit and veg patch... Where to go next?

Hi All,

Its my first time posting here and I am a complete novice gardener so please do not judge harshly!

My girlfriend and I have just brought our first house. The previous owner was renting the property out for the last couple of years, however prior to that it was owned by someone who sadly passed away, that clearly loved their garden and gardening in general (judging by the big greenhouse, two sheds and the amount of gardening related 'stuff' that the last owner left for us and said it was theirs). My mission is to try and get it back to its former glory in their honour, and so we can enjoy our own produce.

Anyway to the point. They kept a fruit and veg plot (approx 10m x 8m). The last owner and tenants left this area, for which we were met by a plot of bramble, dock, nettle and dandelions. 

I have cleared the plot (for now) of bramble, forking underneath to get as much of the roots as possible. I have cleared all the area except for the dandelion,dock and nettle plants and I am not sure if it was better to spray these? 

The dead growth, of what I think was some species of willowherb was also present. I understand that obviously everything that was there has now seeded. As a result I am not sure where to go next. Do I wait for the weeds to grow back, then 'kill' them, then dig over the plot. Or do I get some weed control fabric, lay that down, and then put soil over the top?

Any ideas that you have would be greatly appreciated!




  • If it were me, I would dig out as many of the weeds with roots that you can, or wait until they start growing in spring and then spray them if you want to use chemicals. 

    I would cover half of it with weed membrane. You don't need to add soil to the top, but you can cut holes in it to grow lots of stuff through, whilst suppressing the weeds. I have done this successfully for courgettes, squashes, pumpkins, sweet corn, potatoes.

    Any that you leave bare, keep weeding throughout the year, to get out all the weed seeds that germinate.  

    The beauty of veg growing is that it is all annual, so yes, weeds will grow, but as well as weeding throughout the year as the veg grows, you can also give it a good dig over at the end of every year to get any perennials out. 

  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923

    you can cover the lot with a couple of layers of heavy duty cardboard and cover with 3-4 inches of organic matter (manure, compost etc.) in the spring you can plant straight into the top without needing to dig out the weeds

  • PoddingtonP, treehugger80 thanks for replying!

    Great advice and definitely food for thought! Need to go back and plan a bit more thoroughly me thinks.

    Thanks again. 

  • HotspurHotspur Posts: 30

    The worst weeds for sheer bloody minded persistence are bindweed and ground elder. A couple of millimetres of root left in the ground will regrow, similar with Docks, Dandelion and Alkanet. The only way to beat them is deep digging and observation of the plot to ensure that any re-emergence is promptly dealt with. Gardening is about accepting 'pests' at a tolerable level. My veg. plot keeps us fed for most of the year and keeps me out from under 'er indoors feet also and I live with ALL the above weeds plus many annual types yet still have a garden that looks good and makes me so happy. Good luck and I hope you become as addicted as the rest of us.

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