When I had my first allotment in 2005, I decided to have four rotational areas which I separated with Michaelmus Daisys and I must say they look beautiful in September each year when they flower.
At first, I would walk all over the soil to plant things and dig it all over each winter. This was easy to do with one plot but when I took on more plots four years ago, I had to re-look at how I did things.
I decided that in between each row of Michaelmus Daisys I would have four ‘fixed’ beds separated by paths, so I didn’t need to walk on the soil. The only exception was my potato bed, where I would remove the paths each year and dig the whole area over.
I used weed suppressant that I cut to size for my paths and held it down with small tent pegs. However, the wind had other ideas so I had to resort to holding it down with bricks instead.
The bricks were not ideal as the slugs love hiding underneath them and I have often fallen over the bricks when I am not looking at my feet. Also, the wind still blows the weed suppressant about, as you can see in the photograph below, but the worse thing is the weed suppressant frays like mad where I cut it and I have strands of it everywhere, which gets tangled up in my trowel, fork and even around my legs sometimes.
On the plus side however, the paths have been great as I didn’t need to walk on the soil, which meant I could weed when the ground was really wet (as I could just reach into the bed) and all I’ve needed to do each year is lightly fork the soil over if I wanted to and it doesn’t get compressed.
So I decided I needed to do something different.
I thought long and hard and considered the usual options of slabs (which would be far too expensive), wood chip paths (again expensive for the wood to edge the paths) and just plain soil paths (I tried this before and I spent ages weeding them). In the end I decided to have another go at weed suppressant paths, but this time I was determined to do them properly with no edges to fray.
I brought the weed suppressant from our allotment shop as it is only £2 per meter (with a width of four meters wide), so this is really good value, though it is a low grade weed suppressant that does need to be doubled.
I cut it into strips that were large enough to be doubled over and I left a couple of inches extra to sew the hems.
I found the weed suppressant would not pass through my sewing machine as it keep catching underneath, so after a whole morning of trying every way possible, I unfortunately had to edge the top and bottom of it with duct tape before I could manage to machine sew it.
I sewed the sides together and then turned the weed suppressant inside out
I then ironed the path flat (I was supprised I could iron it without it melting, but it was fine)
I then sewed the ends up
And then I used some Eyelets to stop it from fraying when I pinned it down onto the ground. I also used a bit of duct tape before putting each eyelet on, to give the weed suppressant a bit more strength.
I spaced the eyelets just wide enough to fit the double pins that I had bought, to hold the weed suppressant down.
I’m hoping these pins will be better than the small tent pegs I used originally… but I will let you know when it is next windy.
I laid the paths at my allotment and I am really pleased with them. I think the paths look much better without the bricks and fraying:
If the new pins hold the paths down, then I will try and do the rest of the weed suppressant paths around my allotment over the next year or so.
I’ve not written a recipe on my blog for ages, so I thought today I would.
I like to use everything I grow in as many different ways that I can. At the moment I still have parsnips at my allotment and it won’t be long before I need the space for something else.
You can also use parsnips to make ‘parsnip crisps’, which is something a little bit different and they taste wonderful when they are served warm.
This is how I make them:
6 teaspoons olive oil
Salt to taste
Preheat your oven to Gas 3 / 160C /325F
Wash, peel and slice your parsnips finely (I used my food processor for quickness, as it has a slicing attachment)
Rub the olive oil all over the parsnips
Lay the parsnip slices on greased baking sheets
And bake in the oven for 25 minutes, turning half way through the cooking time
While thay are still hot, sprinkle with salt and then enjoy!
Thank you for reading my blog today.
I will be back on Monday at my usual time.