Good Time to Start

Community Community No dig gardening Preparing the ground Good Time to Start

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Alan 4 years, 10 months ago.

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    I am looking to start up some no dig beds in a pasture grass field that belongs to my property. It will be a veg garden alongside some outdoor pigs and free range chickens. The beds will have to be on a slope (not too steep though) and the beds will run down the slope as opposed to across it. I have enough space for 10m long rows and up to 10 or 12 rows in total. I was not going to make all of them to start with, but a few and then expand if needed as time goes on. My question is when is the best time to start covering and mulching the weeds. I will be looking to start planting and growing next spring really as I have too many projects on at the moment renovating our house and building a holiday flat. But, should I or is it beneficial to mulch/get rid of weeds and build the beds in Autumn time and let them overwinter? Or is it just as easy to wait till early next year?
    Thanks, Alan



    I would start now. Even if you just cover the area with something light-excluding like tarpaulin/black plastic/mypex it will deprive the weeds of light in their peak growing season and they will start to die. Personally, I like to put a small amount of compost underneath at the same time to give it all a kick start, but it’s not necessary.
    When you start to build your beds in earnest depends on the state/age of your compost and your available time. If you have well-rotted weed-free compost you can leave it all until just before you want to plant. If it’s less well-rotted/lumpy you might benefit from spreading before winter so the frosts can break up surface lumps and produce a fine tilth. It would be in situ then for hoeing off your spring flush of weeds before planting.
    Up to you. Timing’s not critical. Just don’t plant into fresh (hot) compost, and check first whether you are using anything that could contain aminopyralid weed killer. (Lots of info on this site)
    Good luck. Must be lovely to have a ready source of manure. Enjoy!



    Thanks Jan, I think I will schedule in sometime to make the beds in late summer, early autumn. I hope a few projects I have on-going will be completed by then and I will have a bit of time to spare.



    I agree that getting going as soon as you can would be good- so putting down weighted cardboard or mypex now and building the beds later will give you a real head start for killing the weeds. It’s easy and quick to do. I have found cycle shops a great source of thick cardboard in large pieces and they’re really happy to get rid of it.



    If you were to mow the area repeatedly,to a low setting, you will reduce/eliminate many of the weed population as they reduce in ability to photosynthesise, flower and seed. You also provide a ‘free’compostable ingredient. Create a lawn in other words.Shortness will allow the cardboard to rest at soil level and soften more rapidly when/if it rains again.
    If you can source suitable plants (brassica?) then a late summer planting could bring in a crop for this year end.
    Apart from cycle shops, retailers of white goods (fridges etc) and fireplace/stove shops will give you lots of card-just ask.My local supermarket has a cardboard recycle bin and will let one remove the fly-tipped boxes that arrive even when the bin is full. Card will also compost, especially with the ‘lawn’ mowings. Beware the box staples-they bite.



    Many Thanks for your replies. The grass in the pasture is about 50cm or so tall, as we were letting everything flower for the insects and wildlife. But our neighbour has a tractor and a mulcher and said when we want he will come in and mow/mulch the whole field. I then have a ride on mower to keep it short. Plus we have a bike shop at the end of the road. So looks like I am in luck. I do have a normal “dug” bed on the go at the moment with plenty of veg in but the work in weeding means I fancy giving no dig a go.

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