Saturday, September 19, 2009

Weed fabric and... toilet rolls.

With great sadness, I must today start by describing the slow, but terrible demise of this blog's protagonist, the plot, over the passing months. It has been a time of great upheaval; mountains (of dirt) have risen and fallen, once lush grasses have at times been replaced by a boggy swamp. And with commitments elsewhere; the plot has fallen upon dark times. My old nemesis' have re-captured all the territories I strive to banish them from.

But let us not forget that good usually triumphs over evil, and that this story will have a happy ending. Enter, weed fabric of awesomeness.

You might have heard me preach the good word of said weed fabric in previous posts. And not least of all because it is awesome. But it has saved me loads of time over the last few months. I laid it around my citrus trees earlier in the year, and I've hardly had to weed the whole area since. Its now time to find a way to apply this beautiful principal to the rest of the plot.

I've picked up four ten-metre by 1.2-metre rolls of the mat for the job; at a cost of roughly $10 each. You might think that $40 is a big outlay for your average vege patch - but I plead that you stop and think about the worth of your own time. I can tell you now, the hours of work this expenditure will save me is worth far more than a measly couple of twenties. And four rolls isn't going to just cover the patch; its going to cover all of my orchard, too. For a long time.

I can't express enough that you must buy the weed fabric; and not the woven plastic mat. The plastic mat is somewhat water retardant; while the weed fabric lets the water soak right through; and will break down nicely into the soil over time.

But how, might you ask, do you apply a sheet mulch to a vege patch? I struggled with this very idea for a long while, but I think I finally have a solution to put into place. You see, I've heard a lot of people mention in the passing months that a really good use of old toilet rolls is as a container for sowing seeds. When you're ready to plant them out, you just stick the whole thing in the ground, and let the container break-down in the soil. Sounds great right?

The natural progression of this idea is to use it in conjunction with the weed fabric. I'm going to lay the whole plot with the fabric, then cut small incisions at intervals. Then I'm going to plant whole toilet-rolls into the mat; thus holding the mat off the plants, and leaving a minimal space for any weeds to germinate. In some beds, I'm going to sow seeds direct into the soil, and still use the same idea - use the toilet roll as protection, and plant the seed in the middle.

Two weeks on, and the corn loves it:

Now I know by this stage you must be sick of hearing about my weed fabric; so let me assure you, there are new adventures to embark upon! They're in the planning, and will be coming very soon.

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