ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › sad but true...en France
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

sad but true...en France

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

AppleMark

 

 

70 yds of black plastic and beyond the hazelnut and pear trees another 25yds, Just laid it and weighted down with demolition debris from the house

 

The 400yr old wreck of a house we bought last year came, as it often does, with a huge skelp of land and as im only here for 2 weeks, every 6-8 weeks i can't manage it, or afford 24 euros an hour for a gardener to help out.

 

Im looking for ideas to cut down on maintenance, while enabling cultivation of fruit and veg.

 

Thank you in advance for all suggestions

"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
Reply
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
Reply
post #2 of 5

Black plastic is a good start.  Leave it for a year to kill any weed seeds.  If you know your newspaper is printed with soy ink, It makes a pretty good weed shield for a year or so but won't build up temps to kill weed seeds as the black plastic does. It breaks down fairly quickly under a mulch layer . UV will break down your exposed plastic in a year or two.

 

Other sections, you could mow/chip or perhaps rototill depending what's there.  Spread with overlapping newspaper, (stake with carved wooden sticks from your trimmings should take just a few strokes with a hatchet or knife) Mulch with the trimmings to protect the newspaper and keep it looking nicer. Plant with your chosen ground cover in holes cut through the news paper. That's not expensive, but takes a little labor.

 

Don't try to do it all at once unless you have a big budget and time which it seems you don't. Clear a section this way each year and follow on the next year. Develop a master plan and screening to keep your neighbors happy with how your lot appears. Probably a good idea to talk to them and get their support anyway.

 

Landscaping cloth is your next help. This is like the black plastic, but water can pass through. Lasts much longer than the newsprint will, decades if well mulched. Cut out holes where you want to plant perennials. Cover with a mulch to help protect soil temps. You'll get weeds in the mulch in a year or two after starting this, but they're easy to pull as they can't root deeply. You can also spread a pre-emergent in the early spring or late fall. to help control new seed sprouts. Check to find one that is safer for food gardening if you're going to use it in your food areas.

 

Run a dripline irrigation system so only the plants you want are getting supplemental irrigation. This helps control weeds a lot in my neck of the woods, but talk to local professionals for the best  info.

 

Use natives for most of your landscaping and become comfortable with an informal look rather than manicured.  creeping thyme would seem to be a good bet for ground cover and weed control. It's fairly flexible to climate. many varieties and many are culinary friendly though not all.  You'll need a few different such dense choices for the different parts of the lot. Some for shade, some for high heat and sun and so on.

 

As your chosen ground cover spreads, cut new holes in the landscaping cloth for the ground cover to root in. Plan your irrigation for covering these expansions.

 

Rent a wood chipper once per year to deal with your trimmings. You can use this as a mulch, or to feed a compost system. As a mulch, it robs the soil of some nitrogen in the first few years but will return it over time as it continues to break down.

 

Once you've got it under control,  you can then start augmenting it with more variety and scale you can manage.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Reply
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Reply
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much Phatch for the time and trouble you took to help me. I'm so impressed with your knowledge and im keen to apply your methods. I will keep you posted with the results.

 

I have a garden shredder that was bound for a carboot sale, it will now be brought down here. I'm worried about the newspaper blowing away, even with stakes, but i will give it a go. Not sure about the ink content. i'll get my french translator app onto it.

 

I love the idea of thyme as ground cover. 

 

I googled your drip line irrigation idea and it would be ideal for a veg garden too, but i would have to rely on the charity of my neighbours though, as i have no water... my garden is, as with most rural french gardens, well away from the house.

 

I already use locals for most of the work on the house we cant mange, so shouldnt have a problem finding help with landscaping, though straight lines and symetry seems to be the way of gardens here and thats definitely not my way. we'll see.

 

kindest regards

 

Bug x


Edited by bughut - 6/10/13 at 1:30pm
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
Reply
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
Reply
post #4 of 5

The mulch is to help keep it from blowing away as well as the water retention and temperature protection. But if you have some steeper areas, those are hard to do this way as  the mulch drifts down hill or flows in  heavy rain. You might look at using a "mineral" mulch for those areas, where you collect your rocks to hold things down. You might need to do some hardscaping on steeper hillsides to help control erosion and give you more control of the plants and behavior.

 

Check the local laws and look into rain catchment and use that for your irrigation perhaps.  In my desert area, rain has been illegal to collect as this water is considered the property of all and was part of recharging the ground water which was claimed under water rights for farm irrigation. This is starting to change now as better understanding of the water limits of the environment and the developed areas of the state make this original law outdated.

 

There are options to make such things work, but this is one reason I stressed using native plants as they'll take to what your area gets for sun, temps and water.  Of course, you do have the option of adding plants from other similar climates around the world, but know your laws and what your area considers an invasive foreign species.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Reply
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Reply
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Right, i get it now. I'll give a go...Mulch on top of paper. 

 

Never knew the shrine of the sea monkeys had such a raw deal on rain collection. sounds incredible.

 

thanks again for the input  all info taken on board x

"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
Reply
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › sad but true...en France