I have previously planted my squashes through black weed prevention fabric and had great results – the weeds are suppressed and and the squashes don’t end up sitting on soggy soil and rotting as they grow and ripen. However, the weed control fabric had a major drawback in that the ends frayed and strands of plastic would then come loose and drift around my veg patch. Ironically, I have been weeding these plastic strands out of the plot like crazy, they are more invasive than the bindweed! Also, the weed fabric seemed to provide a good home to slugs, and other pests (mice and voles) so I wanted to replace it with something better.
So, this season I devised a new, and as Baldrick would say, cunning plan… I’ve been using the wool liners from my frozen dog food deliveries (my dog is on a raw food diet) to lay down around the squash plants. This has several benefits that I have found so far:
- The wool is not very popular with slugs as they don’t want to crawl over the prickly strands, so it’s doing well at protecting the plants from slug damage.
- The wool is doing quite well at suppressing weeds, although I wish I had done it earlier in the season before the weeds got quite so big! Some are pushing up no problem. But it’s a learning curve and I think it will be quite effective next year when I lay it down earlier in spring.
- When the fruits form, they will sit on the wool rather than the soil which will prevent them from rotting.
- It’s biodegradable. Yay!
However…the negatives are that it blows around quite easily and the birds seem to think it is there for them to use for their nests. Hmmm.