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What to do with my garden?


Let me explain myself!

As a lot of you already know our new garden was a disaster area when we moved in, with five foot tall nettle beds, huge docks, brambles, willow herb and countless other “nasties”

I managed to cut everything down with the help of “The Beast”

I now find that everything is enjoying the lovely weather we are having at the moment and is growing back at a rate of knots so we have decided to use weed killer on the whole garden then rotavate it and lay fresh grass seed. I should also mention the copious amounts of broken glass at every turn and the holes and lumps all over that need leveling.

Having said we have “decided” to weed kill it all I am very concerned about the effect this will have on the environment. You see I try to be as organic or environmentally friendly to my garden as possible but being of limited physical ability (and bone idle into the bargain) I don’t think I would manage to dig out all of the roots of all of these weeds and rotavating it all without the weed killer would only encourage more weed growth thus defeating the point of it all.

So, I’m between a rock and a hard place at the minute. I don’t want to use chemicals on my garden (I also have my chooks to worry about) but I don’t know of any other way of clearing such a large area of these densely packed horrors.

I would hate for these lovely ladies to get sick because of the weed killer!

So, do I try to dig every weed, nettle and bramble out by hand or do I go against my own judgement and use, what would be, gallons of chemicals?

Do I swallow my pride and invest in I.C.I shares or pay a landscaper hundreds of pounds to do the work for me?

Perhaps I could get away with buying around 100 tonnes of top soil and covering everything up?

What would you do?

It’s 3:30am and I can’t sleep for worrying about it!

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"Little and often", Ian. You naturally want your garden to look as good as possible as quickly as possible, but you have, yourself, mentioned your limited ability and, like the rest of us at present, limited finances, plus your desire to remain organic. I think 'patience' is the keyword here. Choose an area of the garden and dig out weeds, broken glass, bricks, builders' rubble, etc; improve the soil and plant up with something pretty. Then - when you've recovered from that (only you know how long that will take!) choose another section of garden and work your magic again. It WILL take time; you WILL be frustrated; but you'll be quids in and when you've finished you can sit with a glass of something bubbly and say "I did that." :o)

7 Jul, 2010


I know what you mean im in the same situation,what nariz says is true and what im doing,but i have to say im haveing a loseing battle at the min with the weeds,i did use weedkiller on my paths to get rid of what i couldnt get at and it worked,also the weed/feed for the front lawn,but i worry about the back garden as of the weeds,glass,boulders and all that was dumped there(found rusty barb wire yesterday)and worry about the pup,cats and birds that visit my garden,there are tons of weedkillers out there why not take a look and see if there are any that are kind to animals and dissapear from the ground after a while,or what about ground sheets to kill them off,good luck,may i say i wait with anticipation for your blogs i love them,chris

7 Jul, 2010


Ian digs v2 I think the same as Nariz ,could you put some parts of your garden say to wild life or a paved area using what you have got already,then do it bit by bit as your health /finances allow.I do not like the idea of weed killer Ian but I am sure with the help from all on G.oY you will find a solution.

7 Jul, 2010


I can only concur with what's been said, If you want mostly lawn your mower with the Union Jack on (probably made in China) and your 'Chooks' are all you need - and a little time!

7 Jul, 2010


awwww Ian all i can say is good luck with what ever you deside :-)
our garden has always beaten us untill this year when we desided that its our turn.
So far the results are good but theres still a small section that needs lots of attention, but it can wait for now xx
I look forward to seeing and following your progress :-)

7 Jul, 2010


What a task you have Ian, I agree with the rest little and often. Your chooks should be able to clear a lot if you were able to move them around, how lucky you are to have fresh eggs every day,if only I had a bigger garden to keep them.
Re our cockerel we had I was going to tell you he had a heart attack one year when we had a very bad thunder storm he just dropped dead. It was very up setting at the time as I was only young. Have you named them ? our cockerel was Fred and one of his ladies was Henrietta she was a pure breed maran.
Good luck with your garden Ian .......

7 Jul, 2010


isn't old carpet supposed to kill weeds laid over thickly and left and black polythene as well?

7 Jul, 2010


I would agree with everyone, cover as much as you can, carpets anything, and leave the designated part of the garden to start on, but I would wait until the ground is softer, after rain, kinder to your back!

7 Jul, 2010


Hi all, you are all so kind and thoughtful to worry about my health. THANK YOU XX

Nariz, the glass of bubbly sounds like a good idea and something to work towards!

Ladybug, thank you very much for your comments (blush) I have found all of that in my garden as well!

Thanks Mavis, GoY is the first place I turn to when I need help or have a problem!

Heron, the garden is to lumpy for the lawn mower (Made in USA! Lol)

Thanks Kimmy, I hope you get your garden sorted soon!

Stripes, the chooks are officially called: Shirley, Laila, Hayley, Sheila and Kayley but have been nicknamed Bossy, greedy, nosey, shy and cheeky! Lol

Pam, that's a great idea, I have put weed membrane down but the nettles etc have just grown straight through it!

Dido, thank you for your advice, I think this may be the way to go!

The one problem I do still have is all of the nettles growing through the lawn where Holly plays, how can I fix this?

7 Jul, 2010


I reckon a softly-softly approach would be much better than using gallons of chemicals, which could affect not just the chooks, but you and Carol and Holly, too - and the new neighbours! Why not rotavate, dig a small area to remove roots, and then keep hoeing the new seedlings as they appear? By all means cover the rest, too, so that seeds from the other weeds can't settle in your newly cleaned patch.

I know you'd like a magic wand, but it's going to be a long job, my friend. Dido's right about the dryness, too - if you want to start before the rain comes, why not water your first area?

Oops! Sorry - we submitted at the same time. Cut them off - shear them back!

7 Jul, 2010


Thanks Spritz,
I feel much better thinking I can do a little and often and save my family from chemical warfare! I often see "old carpets suitable for allotments" on Freecycle. I think that's my next move.

7 Jul, 2010


if its dry like this holly could maybe play on the carpet :0)

7 Jul, 2010


i agree with all above, covering is best to avoid chemicals ian, slow but affective, and a good rotavate and taking roots out, i wouldnt think this time of year woulod be good to grass seed, to dry , better in spring i would have thought, maybe if you get it prepared and save up a bit while doing this then get someone to turf it for you, if you can, ive seeded a lawn before and not only does it take time but you have to keep off it or will get killed off before rooted properly, and with holly wanting to play thats not a good idea, but take your time ian and keep well my friend ;o) x

7 Jul, 2010


Agree with all Ian...

7 Jul, 2010


Your problem with the nettles growing back (not in the lawn) is because you used weed membrane - this is not much use for stopping growth unless its under the soil, what you really need is thick black plastic. Most garden centres sell it by the metre, and that laid down and securely anchored will kill off even brambles, though it'll take a year or more to do it. Plastic excludes light, air and moisture - weed membrane on the surface lets light through, rain penetrate and allows air flow, so not what you need.
If you win the lottery, or come into some money, certainly landscapers would be great, wouldn't it, lol!

7 Jul, 2010


Well Ian, I've nothing much to add to the consensus of opinion. I know 'little by little' is not in your nature but for all the above reasons, especially your own health, it really is the best way. If you try any full scale operation I think Mother Nature will always be one step (or many!) ahead :o((( Good luck!

7 Jul, 2010


i agree with the others ian.....good luck with whatever you decide to do....

7 Jul, 2010


Sorry, Ian, I can't add anything helpful because I have never experienced having to tackle anything like this. It must seem rather daunting. What a pity some of us don't live nearer to give a hand to get you started - a GoY working party would be great fun - a sort of Ground Force - you can be in charge like Alan Titchmarsh. I'll leave it to your imagination who might be Charlie Dimmock or Tommy!

However you decide to tackle it, take care and don't overdo it.

7 Jul, 2010


Well I guess I know what I'm doing for the next year or two! Lol

Thank you all for your great ideas and kind thoughts. It's so much better knowing I have you all to turn to when I need an idea or some help with something that has kept me awake for nights. I now know I don't need to unleash chemical warfare on my garden but by taking my time (and possibly swapping my ride on mower for a Rotavator) I can do this! :~)))))))))

7 Jul, 2010


I was going to suggest black plastic so I go for Bamboo's idea but I did have something to add - if the cost is prohibitive why not ask for some on your local 'freecycle' ? I also wonder about your health holistically Ian? that should be the priority. How about putting an card in your local shops even local radio explaining your problem and the help you need to clear your new garden and see if there are any volunteers? Also something like a Calamine lawn or wild flower areas need much less mowing then grass!

7 Jul, 2010


Very good ideas Drc, A calamine lawn would go down well as half of it is for Holly to play on and the other half will be for veggies. There will be a few beds and borders around for the flowery things to! Lol

7 Jul, 2010


Gently does it though Ian - Rome wasnt built in a day and they had great gardens!

7 Jul, 2010


I think that has been the general consensus from everyone Drc, whatever I decide to do I have to take my time with it. I guess I'm looking at two years at least just to get the bare bones of the garden right, then I can start playing! Lol

7 Jul, 2010


'Two years at least' will fly Ian and parts of it wont take 2 years Do a small area and call it 'Taste of things to come' and show it off with pride. A play area with be a good start?

7 Jul, 2010


I have a huge section that is loaded with brambles and I'm removing them by hand. I don't want to use chemicals either. I know it will take a long, long time but everyday I just pull out a few. Once the weather cools I'll work on it some more.

8 Jul, 2010


Yes the pleasure in gardening for me is 'doing it myself' Lauram.

8 Jul, 2010


Well Mr Digs ... I think you've got the best advice there from these lovelies ...

1. Don't whack yourself out worrying about it.
2. Don't risk your health trying to do too much.
3. You'd regret going down the chemicals route in the future.
4. Put Shirley & the girls on ground clearing duty to earn their keep!
5. Ask around for any old Wilton people are chucking out ... it would make for
a barby venue with a difference ( maybe as a thank you for that army of
helpers you are going to press gang!)
6. Patience is a virtue!!


8 Jul, 2010


Thanks Fluff, as usual I am struggling with "it all takes time" and want it done yesterday! Lol

I think I am just going to have to get used to it taking a while!

:~)) xxxxx

8 Jul, 2010


Hoh yes you are! But it'll be so worth it. :o))

8 Jul, 2010


I hope so Fluff, I hope so! Lol

8 Jul, 2010


I was wondering if you could offer to share the vegetable area with someone who would help you clear and then maintain that area in return for a share of the produce?

9 Jul, 2010


does freecycle work like that i wonder?

9 Jul, 2010


That's a good idea Drc but I'm not sure there would be enough room to persuade someone to take on so much work for so little return!

Pam, Freecycle doesn't work like that (well at least the one's I'm registered with don't) but if you or anyone you know of has some land spare there is always "Landshare" It's an initiative started by Hugh furnley-whittingstall (or Hugh flipping-what'sisname as he got nicknamed in our house! Lol) and Channel four.

9 Jul, 2010


I still think looking for someone might work Ian - my father would have jumped at the chance as he was always looking for something to do in his long retirement with out any payment

9 Jul, 2010


I can't add anything new to what's already been said, Ian, but I fully agree with you about wanting things done yesterday! LOL! I'm like that on the allotment - there's so much to do & I wish it were done already so I can "sit back" & enjoy the results!

I'm afraid I have to subscribe to the consensus & recommend that you take it slowly, one day at a time. I'm having to learn that down on the allotment & it's taking some learning!

It's been a real scorcher of a day down on the allotment, we must have been close to 30C & tomorrow is forecast to be a similar day! The soil is dust dry & drinks up the water like a drain! The watered patches are dry in no time unless I puddle them! I spent a couple of hours watering this morning & when I go down tomorrow I'll have to start over again!!!

9 Jul, 2010


I think I have found the perfect answer to my garden problem!

Watch this video on Youtube while I draw up some plans for one of my own! Lol

9 Jul, 2010


While you're watching that video, try this one I made!

Copy/paste this link into your browser!

11 Jul, 2010

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