I made a start on the Patch from Scratch this weekend. I did some clearing and digging. In fact, I did more than I thought I would. I’m not looking forward to tomorrow morning. I’m getting to that age when I start to ache after a day’s graft.
Anyway, I thought I’d blog about my progress, and the rough plan for sorting the scruffy, weedy area into a nice veg patch.
Little and Often
There are a lot of weeds to clear out, so little and often is my plan. I did consider going into detail about all the different types of weeds I encountered, and what they do, but figured there’s no point. They’re all big, they’re all bad, and they all need to get out.
When a patch or allotment is overgrown, this can be a painstaking process, hence the little and often motto. I’ve seen people at the allotment rotovate, which is quick and dirty, but unfortunately doesn’t clear the weeds out. It only chops the roots up, so within a few weeks, the area is overrun again.
Loosening the Soil
My plan is to tackle small sections one at a time, pulling out as much of the big stuff as possible, and then tackling the little bits. My favoured technique for clearing is digging down a spade deep to loosen the soil, and then pulling up weeds. Some of the roots were huge though and took a proper dig and yank combo to get out.
I rewarded myself in between each section by having a rest in the sun (normally involving tea or chocolate) and then having another crack at the weeds.
Covering Up – Keep Those Weeds Down
Once each little section is free of weeds I’m covering the area with tarpaulin or carpet to keep the weeds down until Autumn. I’ve found a good source of old carpet in a skip outside a local carpet shop. If you do have any pets, make sure you use pet-friendly weedkiller.
I actually made pretty good progress with this frequent tea and chocolate break approach and dug over about a third of the plot during the course of the weekend.
I’ve got a few more weeks of light in the evening, and a bank holiday weekend on the horizon, so hopefully I’ll get the whole area rough dug soon. That’s my broad, simplistic plan for creating a good growing base.
A Good Weekend’s Work
It’s been a fulfilling couple of days, with great weather and no interruptions. Every so often you get one of those weekends when the gardening Gods are smiling on you. This weekend was one of them. That massive great tree stump I mentioned at the beginning?
Completely rotten. Came up with one sharp tug of a crowbar. No muscles required. 🙂