Low maintenance gardening

Mulch in winter for less work in Spring & Summer

Cover the ground with black weed control fabric or cardboard and mulch. The card goes on first, with thick layer of mulch on top. This can be done at any time in late autumn or winter. The photos show some patches that were covered in February and March, before the weeds started to grow. Earlier is better. Weather permitting, you can mulch and cover in December or January.

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weed control fabric – 100 gsm, but what’s in the bags?

This mulch will suppress weeds in the coming weeks of spring, as the weather warms up. If you then have plants or seedlings, then cut a small hole through the mulch and pop them in.

If you want to sow seeds, roll up a strip of weed control fabric and rake the soil beneath, then sow direct.

To sow seeds in ground that has been mulched with wood chips or similar, rake a strip aside to reveal the soil below and then rake the soil to get a tilth before sowing.

Very large seeds can be sown without raking the mulch away, eg broad beans. Just use a dibber to make a small hole through the mulch to the soil below.

Very low maintenance gardening; but what are the bags for? – see below…

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what’s in the bags?

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The bags contain pulled-out weeds and kitchen waste compost. Instead of using a compost bin in winter, this waste is bagged up. It decays in situ and the benefits are threefold:

  1. Firstly it stops the weed control fabric blowing away,
  2. secondly it rots in the bag to make compost that will be ready in the summer to feed your crops, just empty it next to your crops in June or July.
  3. and thirdly it keeps the soil below it moist in dry weather, so when you come to plant a seedling the soil is nice and moist with many worms.

A word of caution. Under the bags there may be slugs as well as worms. Be ready to dispose of these when you pick up the bags and plant your seedlings.

Summer seed sowing on mulched soil

The patch below had been mulched all winter and spring. the top layer of mulch was straw. I am now ready to sow some beetroot seeds. First the straw and other mulch is raked off and used elsewhere on the plot.

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Then rake the soil to create a tilth. The soil is soft and moist, so this raking took just a few minutes. No need to gig or rotorvate.

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The seeds are sown and the soil firmed down. Job done!