Sunday, April 3, 2011

Jan 17, Mulching and layering a new veggie patch

by Jane
(Temple Cloud, Somerset)

I have owned a lovely 4 acre piece of land for three years, am living on it with my husband and two year old in a caravan, while converting a barn and have had a pond liner over the sunniest patch of nettles for two years. This is where I plan to start growing veggies.

I am limited by shading trees and unfavourable aspect as to where I can grow so have chosen the sunniest spot after watching the land for the last two years.

I have peeled back the liner and to my joy the nettle roots have finally died, apart from the edges which I have dug ONCE to stop the nettles recolonising.

I also have a large supply of Bracken on the land.

I am lucky to have a unlimited supply of horse poo from a local being delivered soon.

Here are my questions to you!

: DO I need to put down a newspaper/cardboard layer before the horse poo? I am reluctant as both materials carry a lot of printer ink and glue (cardboard) in them.

: If I don't use the cardboard/newspaper layer, how thick should the horse poo layer be and should I cover it over again with the liner until I'm ready to plant, or will a thick mulch on top do?

: I do not have a supply of straw and I have heard that bracken makes a good mulch although I am concerned with the carcinogenic spores. Can I use it for my veggie patch and if so, should I compost it for a year first and start off by getting in straw for this year?

For all those of you with acres of nettles, suppressing them for a lengthy amount of time DOES kill them off, leaving you with just the pesky edges to deal with. I have a lot of other patches of nettles which I will leave to flourish and be a crop for food, tea, butterflies, and nettle beer which my husband intends to try making.

I have a large quantity of local rabbits in my hedgerows so will have to rabbit proof my patches to the MAX, but that's another forum question for later!

Thanks for any help

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