Using Weed-Suppressant fabric to grow crops through

This year I have decided to grow a lot of veg through weed suppressant fabric. For a few reasons…. mainly due to running two home based businesses I don’t have a lot of time to dig weeds at the plot and secondly it makes for a tidy plot – well I think so and I’m a meticulous geek that likes straight lines and measured spacings. How sad is that!!

Last year I was given a part used roll of poly prop type weed fabric and as my first year on the plot I planted all my strawberries through it as well as my courgettes. I just cut slits in it and grew through it. They all did really well and I noticed I had almost no slug damage. I’m hoping it’s because maybe they don’t like slithering on the fabric… However I did get a few through the planting slits I made. I did throw a few hand-fulls of slug pellets on top a few times but did’n’t really find any dead slugs on top.

All I did was make a grid with strings and cut slots or an X and planted through it..
Below are the new strawbs and courgettes.


So this year I’m doing my onions (about 400) at 15 cm spacings each way, along with my sweetcorn and a small patch of cabbages at 30 cm each way.. I find that onions need a lot of hand weeding because of the way the leaves all get intertwined  and are easily broken using a hoe. So if I use the fabric I only have to weed what comes up through the  holes beside the plants.

Today it was chilly but clear so I got the roll out and set up the fabric on the lawn and marked off the holes.

Pics below are making the grid pattern and burning the holes


Firstly I cut the fabric a bit bigger than the beds will be allowing a bit extra to tuck under the walkway plank. Luckily the width of the fabric suits the bed length of 4.4 mt so I only have to cut to suit the bed width. I then mark off every 15cm (or 30) on each side and then push some thin wire hoops into the ground and then thread strings through to use these for the rows. Then I get another few strings and place them across as a grid pattern.. Then to get the actual postions to cut out I use a blue marker pen as it is visible on the dark grey fabric and marked small circles at the cross points of the grid. Then I got the wadd cutter punch that my son machined for me and started to hammer out the 70mm diameter holes in  fabric – NOT… For some reason the punch did not cut through the fabric…. Mmmm back to the drawing board…. Idea – got my blow torch and tried to burn a few holes – worked perfectly and it also seals the edges as it burns and stops it fraying.

See also  The Answer to Weeding is Mulching.

So all in all a great day was had and I made all that I need for the onions, sweetcorn main crop and my cabbages. Maybe next year I’ll do my garlic and leeks through it as well.. Thank goodness we have a great seed shop to get all the seed I need – I have had to order more sweetcorn as I now have more  to plant due to smaller spacings.





Gavin Conway
Moved to the UK from Zimbabwe in 2001. We had a 12 acre plot with a 2 acre normal garden, loads of Koi ponds, a 2 acre veg garden, 3 orchid sheds with over 400 plants, bonsai shed, granny cottage and workshop area.. Comming to the UK and into a 3 bed semi was a shock!! But we knew what to expect and just got on with our lives. I love growing veg and started to grow on my flat garage roof for a few years then moved on to a couple of garden shares then onto a full sized allotment at the end of 2011. I have done loads of work with it and got it looking good. see my blog site at Hope I can help others with info on growing and getting ground and allotments to their liking. Self employed with Kleeneze Gavins grafix doing vinyl signs and a personal courier with Yodel..

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