November Newsletter

A great tidy up  – or fruit for free


Every garden has their problem areas. Forgotten corners or messy areas that we get used to and choose to ignore.  Many gardens also have their problem heaps.  I won’t call them compost piles – they are more like dumps where everything that doesn’t get composted ends up.

In the community gardens/allotments in Bundoran where I work one day every week there were just the right conditions.  A messy pil;e of old weeds that grew to great heights over the years and a messy, overgrown area in the corner of the garden about 20 x 10m in size.

So it’s very simple.  I trampled down the longs weeds in the corner plot and then moved the problem compost and spread it over the weeds (about one wheelbarrow full every 4 square metres).

Then I covered everything with a sheet of black plastic and tucked in the sides.  The plastic was covered with long rushy grass to hold it down and to make it look better.  Alternatively wood chippings or bark mulch could be used as well.

I let this settle for a week and then I will plant blackcurrants through it.  There is no need to buy plants – you can simply take hardwood cuttings and stick them through the black plastic.

Hardwood cutting are best taken in November as soon as the leaves fall.  The cuttings should be about 45cm (18in) long and should be stuck into the ground at least 20cm.  The success rate is close to 100% so I space them at the final spacing of 4ft apart each way.

This is such a satisfying job.  Obviously many other plants can be used instead of blackcurrant such as fuchsia, jostaberry, willow etc. and if you haven’t got a problem heap you could use some manure.