A few chores on the hottest day of the year so far

Today was the hottest of the year so far, so not the ideal time to be working on the paths. However, CT and Riitta had weeded the paths in the fruit cage and covered all of the short runs with weed suppressing membrane, leaving the two long runs to finish. If left for too long, these would be full of weed growth once again, so getting these covered was a priority.

The membrane is a woven plastic material, sealed along the edges using some process that clearly involves heat. This causes some degree of shrinkage of the edges, which makes laying longer runs awkward. We have found it better to trim an inch or two from each edge, folding the edges underneath to prevent fraying. We use plastic pegs to secure the membrane in place, before covering. It is fine to leave the membrane for a while, but it will last longer if covered with a couple of inches of a suitable material. Around the vegetable beds we used 20mm gravel, but in the fruit cage we plan to use wood chip. The soft fruit beds are partly covered with woodchip already, and more will be added when we get time. It makes sense, then, to use woodchip to cover the membrane. Any chippings disturbed from the beds and borders will not then make a mess of the paths.

Fruit cage paths covered with weed suppressing membrane

As well as covering the paths, a few other chores were tackled; CT attacked the never ending task of keeping the borders weed free, whilst I sowed a few saladings and brassicas, and added some feed to the potted figs. Whilst figs do well with their roots constrained, they need the compost to be refreshed from time to time. The top few inches of compost can be scrapped away, if need be, and fresh added to replace it. Today, though, a dressing of horse manure and a sprinkling of fish, blood and bone, was applied and watered well.

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