Hooters Hall

Posts Tagged ‘mulching’

Blue Skies & Forest Garden Mulching

Today at Hooters Hall smallholding we woke up to blue skies rather than incessant rain here’s a picture to prove it

It was also quite mild with no overnight frost so I took the opportunity to do some work on the forest garden. Over the summer we planted an annual wildflower mix in the forest garden to give it a bit of colour but that’s died back now and we’re left with a lot of brambles and weeds which need to be removed before we plant out the forest garden plants. Once established the forest garden should be self sustaining and there won’t be too much weeding to do as the various layers will prevent unwanted plants establishing. However, at the start we need to intervene because the competition from the weeds will hamper the establishment of any of the forest garden plants.

One of the easiest ways to get rid of weeds and clear the area without using chemical sprays is with a mulch. You can use natural mulches such as straw or grass clippings but on our site these wouldn’t last very long once the wind started so we’ve opted for a plastic mulch. Not as aesthetically pleasing but it is very efficient and will mean that we can establish the forest garden plants properly.

We got our plastic mulch and pegs to hold it in place from the garden superstore here’s the link http://www.thegardensuperstore.co.uk/acatalog/Netting_and_Fabrics.html

I had to cut back some of the more aggressive brambles but then it was a case of just putting the plastic sheeting over all the vegetation and fixing it in place with the pegs. I had 30m of sheeting and I’ve covered about a third of the forest garden. I’ve got some more on order so hopefully I’ll get it all covered this week.

Here are some pictures

We have got a lot of the plants ready for planting in to the forest garden. Some I’ve grown from seed or cuttings and have in pots in the polytunnel others I’ve bought as bare roots. I’m a bit undecided about when to plant them all out. I think I’ll plant some of the bigger trees this week but keep the others in the polytunnel for a few months yet while the plastic mulch does its job. Over the next few months the weeds will die back under the plastic mulch and then we can either plant through the mulch by cutting slits and inserting plants or remove a small area of the plastic mulch at a time as we gradually put all the plants in.

The other job we’ll be doing in the forest garden this week is some pruning of the Elder trees so they have more of a bush habitat which will make it easier to harvest the flowers and berries. We experimented with this on one or two of them last year and it worked really well. As well as making harvesting easier this will also let some more light in.

Here are the links to the other Forest Garden posts so you can see what our plans are:  http://www.hootershall.co.uk/category/blogposts/forest-garden/

In other news this week the ducks have started laying eggs again. I found this next to the pond.

The chickens are still not laying though but hopefully, as the days lengthen and they finish moulting, it won’t be too long before they restart egg production.