Some gardeners use carpet as a weed suppressant on their allotments. This is a practice that causes much discussion. Some allotment associations and councils directly controlling their allotments have banned the use of carpets altogether on their sites. This is from long experience of the effects of carpet, especially where a plot has been left uncultivated.
Elsewhere, people have found that foam backed carpet is a particular nightmare as the foam physically degrades into little bits which are totally impossible to clear effectively. Foam is also likely to breakdown further, possibly chemically, after physically crumbling. So – use black plastic or weed membrane by all means to suppress weeds until you have time to clear the area of ground in question. But do yourself (and those who come after you) a favour and ignore any offers of carpet and do not use it. Wet black plastic or weed membrane is far easier to move, store and re-use than an overgrown carpet. Underneath the carpet on your plot is also slug haven.
Carpet will not kill off weeds; it will suppress them and prevent seeds germinating. Roll it back after six months over winter and in spring the bindweed will reappear (as will nettles and docks) and dormant seeds will germinate. In summer roll a bit back and those white spaghetti strings running for yards is the bindweed (or nettles or rosebay willowherb) trying to find light. A Glyphosate chemical spray which kills the weeds but does not affect the soil is a much more efficient way of dealing with difficult weeds.
Spare a thought for the new plot-holder or Site Rep who has to clear and move that wet smelly heavy carpet that a previous plot holder has left.
The Carpet Slayer
New Barns Site
Since I wrote the obituary of Mr Maurice Hobbs wherein I mentioned that he taught me how to dig and stopped me using my spade ‘as a shovel’ I have been asked more than once exactly what I meant. It is an operation that is best shown rather than described but I shall try.
The spade consists of three parts. The blade, the handle which is the D shaped bit on the end or the little crossbar, and the haft which is the bit between the blade and the handle. To shovel you get hold of the handle with one hand and grip the haft with the other hand with the palm facing upwards and the thumb on the top of the haft. This allows you to lift and cast whatever is on the blade.
Digging however is an action of turning the soil. It doesn’t have to involve any lifting or casting just a turn like a plough. To do this you reverse the grip on the haft with the palm on top and the thumb underneath. Insert the blade in the earth, lever it back and twist the handle and the haft. The earth is turned. It is dug.
New Barns Site