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Raised Beds And Couch Grass

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  • Raised Beds And Couch Grass

    I'm doing a new project where I've taken over a plot which is covered in couch grass. I don't have the time to dig it all out. So I was thinking of making raised putting some cardboard to cover the grass and fill the raised beds with manure and plant that way. Or I could cover the ground with membrane instead of cardboard. The new plot all the veggies grown will go to soup kitchen. Any advice would be welcome.

  • #2
    If your couch is like it is here, it might be better to dig it out. I have dug up potatoes with a couch root inside that had speared right through them. These roots are fierce. But actual couch is easier to dig out than the lawn-like matted grass - that I hate! Creeping buttercup is a problem too and most of all convulvulus. Couch? not a problem. At least the roots don't break off like convulvulus when you dig them out. The white couch roots can creep under the soil for long distances. It is a thug and cardboard will not really defeat it. Having said that, it could probably co-exist (weakened) by a good cover and planting squash through it.

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    • #3
      We are taking a no dig approach and doing this!
      http://www.charlesdowding.co.uk/no-d...g-preparation/

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      • #4
        The plot is covered in couch grass and dandelion. I think the link Hector1 Kindly provided looks interesting. The raised beds are 8inches So at the bottom if I layer with thick approx 1 inch cardboard then manure on top might be ok. The plot has not been used for 5 years. I would like to dig it but time is not on my side.

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        • #5
          I think your plan should work nicely, as long as you are putting down a deep filling of manure and it is well rotted. The inch thick cardboard sounds ideal, I skimped with the this one time and had perennial weeds pushing through quite quickly.

          The 4'x8' slightly raised beds (approx 6" high) I put in my garden initially went in on weedy overgrown rough grass/lawn. There was a weed mix of couch, dandelion, thistle, dock, grass, nettle etc. I covered some of the beds with weed membrane for about 6 months, this worked well though I did dig it over and remove a few large dock roots at the end, if I had had rotted manure or compost I would have topped the beds up with it. With other beds I used a good layer of cardboard and then added topsoil for instant beds, this worked as well, though weed seeds were brought in in the soil. For some of the other beds I took off the top layer of growth in strips and inverted it on the beds and then topped up the bed with topsoil, this again worked well and stopped the majority of weeds. Any weeds that did make it through were fairly easy to remove.

          What vegetables are you planning on growing for the soup kitchen?

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          • #6
            Raised beds was the easy option I could take. I've made 12 raised beds filled the bottom with hops thin layer then put cardboard and another layer of hops. The beds are ready for well rotted manure hopefully I could add this week. Then add more hops to mulch. I think this should work in theory, If not at least I tried.

            I was thinking of 2 raised beds for potatoes, 1 for peas, 1 for runner beans, 1 for tomatoes, 2 for courgettes, 2 winter squash, 1 for lettuce and salads, Got 2 spare not sure what to add. Thats the plan but could change as I get more advice from other people.

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            • #7
              You are really lucky to have both hops and well rotted manure available Sounds a good mixture of layers to me, quite rich but with the selection of vegetables you list they should love it (not so sure of the lettuce as I don't grow many)
              Would french beans for shelling be useful?

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              • #8
                Clumsy, we are using a similar mix thick cardboard, then straw, then hops, then rotted bare er
                To. Then topped with topsoil mixed with compost

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                • #9
                  I thought I should show the progress of the raised beds for the charity plot.

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                  • #10
                    Looking very good Clumsy and definitely no couch grass to be seen. Fab.

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                    • clumsy
                      clumsy commented
                      Editing a comment
                      But plenty of horsetail and bindweed weed though.

                  • #11
                    Looks tremendous ours are working well too....weeding so much easier too.

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                    • #12
                      Hi Hector1 definitely the weeding is so much easier. I know that this could be my future way of growing. I've learnt now that you don't actually need soil to grow just use manure.

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                      • #13
                        Peanuts over on A4A grows her amazing squashes in practically neat manure and they are doing fabulously well in it. I always thought it needed to be well rotted down, but not so for really hungry crops like squashes. And probably many others too. There is a lesson here borne out by your experience too. And I am so glad that after all the slug damage you also have things thriving Clumsy. I just wish they would not charge and arm and a leg for horse poop round here. We used to have a heap we could help ourselves from where they were stabling horses, but they sold up and left. Would you believe it the people who bought the land actually burned the whole heap of well rotted manure. A crying shame. Still we do the best we can - at least there are no aminopyralid worries if there is no affordable manure.
                        Last edited by Galina; 04-07-2016, 03:52.

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                        • #14
                          First produce of the charity plot just all different kinds of courgettes. The marrow was donated by a fellow allotmenteer and the rest was from my plot.
                          Attached Files

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                          • #15
                            Hello all, just a wee hello and quick update. Not been online due to various family/personal health stuff.

                            Anyhow. Have not done much growing but have used the raised beds as described above. Put down cardboard straw bales and topped with topsoil/ compost.

                            So easy to weed. Only issue we have had was water retention first two years. This was due to us making them very high and topping up with some sterilised/ spent compost. So not a lot of hummus. We have been topping up with our own compost and manure and soil is now grand/full of worms.
                            Last edited by Hector1; 21-03-2020, 14:00.

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