Carpets and underlay – the traditional weed suppressant of choice for the thrifty allotment gardener. Indeed, over winter parts of the site resemble a patchwork quilt. But carpets have many downsides. They leach toxins, glues and various nasty chemicals into the soil as they decompose, and leave lots of synthetic fibre and foam to dispose of. They are also very heavy and cumbersome to move, as we found out at the last Community Day. Tough weeds like bindweed and couch grass still manage to grow through them, making them even harder to shift. Many allotment associations have banned their use entirely, including Northfields.
We’d like to encourage you to ditch the carpets and consider using more environmentally friendly options such as green manure, cardboard or weed suppressant membrane. And as it happens, John Regan in the Searchlight Trading Hut is now selling this membrane at a good price, and better quality than B&Q. So when you’re clearing up your plot this Autumn/Winter, please consider the more environmentally friendly options.