Rolling out the Manky Pink Carpet

Carpet laid out in the garden

When the books tell you to design your garden as a series of rooms, I’m not sure they meant actually carpeting them

Back when I had a proper job, I always tried to schedule meetings for the afternoon as I’d long learned I never did anything productive between 2pm and 4 so I might as well go and have a nice chat with other people and eat biscuits until my brain woke up again around tea time. Now that I work my own hours, it means I can justify getting out into the garden on a winter afternoon and tackle one of the many jobs that are piling up out there.

Currently top of the list is preparing the ground for the veg beds. I’ve been swithering over whether to build raised beds, dig in manure, or go for a no-dig approach (it doesn’t help that the last three editions of Gardeners’ Question Time have had three different suggestions) but with our Christmas holiday looming, we’ve reached the stage where (in the words of a wise former colleague of mine) it’s better to take a wrong decision than no decision. In the end, the first two approaches involved too much hard work, so with time running out I’ve decided to attempt the no-dig approach.

So I spent this afternoon scavenging various bits of carpet from the attic and garage where the previous owners had stashed them and laying out where the plot will be.

Newspapers

Take that, 2016

Then it was just a matter of putting down the last few month’s worth of newspapers and my friend’s housewarming gift (and I can’t really think of anything more appropriate to do with what amounts to several hundred photos of Donald Trump than covering them in horse manure), followed by the contents of the compost dalek – which was wonderfully good stuff – and a pile of coarser weeds hacked down in our attempt to clear around the old chicken shed. Meanwhile, the weather gods were doing their bit by steadily drizzling so that everything was nice and damped down. The plan was to add the rest of the pile of stuff that has accumulated from cutting the grass and clearing the weeds, but winter afternoons are short and I ran out of time. As it was, I ended up putting the last bits of carpet on in the dark.

Ideally, I would have done this back in July when we first got the keys to the house, to give everything several months to rot down and to weaken all the perennial weeds, but if nothing else, I will have added several barrowloads of organic matter to the soil, and at least made the grass and buttercups a bit easier to deal with in the spring.

veg plot before

Before shot. Remind me to come back and post some progress pictures …

So now all that remains for me to do is to wait, and let the worms and other creatures do their work, and hope I’ve weighed everything down well enough that the carpet will still be in place come spring.

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9 Responses to Rolling out the Manky Pink Carpet

  1. Autolycus says:

    Cue hurricanes, floods and pestilence (sorry, but Sods’ Law will out),

  2. Good choice and the best bit is if you do not have time to do anything with the areas that you have covered over come next spring and summer they only get better from the mulch being topped up and left another year. If you can find them (freecycle, talking to local farmers/hauliers etc) thick black polythene, or old lorry tarpaulin covers are a good option for areas heavily infested with tough perennial weeds such as couch, dock, nettles etc which you know you will not get round to sorting out next year . They will not rot down but will look tidy and under control (which is helpful psychologically when you have a lot of garden to bring under control).

  3. Charles says:

    Current pc gardeners claim that carpets could contain harmful chemicals and should not be used. If true then surely 99% of all allotment owners would be dead by now, so it looks like a splendid bit of up upcycling. I went the raised bed route and the beds I put in worked quite well, the one I inherited was rather tired and nothing really grew very well, time for my council dales to do their bit I think. I have my garlic in and it caught the frost which is good because it is now semi tropical in Somerset. What were the weird green shoots that yours produced and which went well on pizza?

    • disgruntled says:

      Oh – forgot to answer your question – they’re called scapes. You only get them with hardneck garlic apparently

    • Kate says:

      It’s more than a claim, it’s a fact. Adhesives, fire retardants, plastics – it’s all there, ready to leach out into your soil. Plus there’s years’ worth of bacteria and moulds. You certainly can’t have an ‘organic’ garden if you start using old carpets.

  4. disgruntled says:

    @Autolycus – undoubtedly.
    @Michael – I’m not sure I could manage a whole year without a veg plot but we’ll see how busy March and April gets!
    @Charles – I had read that, but the carpet is more by way of a lid than (hopefully) rotting down too much itself.

  5. […] yesterday’s post, on mature reflection, I decided I hadn’t quite gone far enough with the mulching process so […]

  6. […] and terminal anxiety it is highly recommended. And it probably helps that the garden is still under wraps and the longer I leave it there, the better it will probably be (technically, I should probably sit […]

  7. […] I know you’ve all been waiting with bated breath to discover how the manky pink carpet experiment has been getting […]

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