I’m feeling very pleased this summer with a bed that I have finally uncovered. Previously a haven of bindweed, nettles and (gasp) knotweed, I covered it with weed membrane about 3 years ago. Don’t worry, it hasn’t been sitting there doing nothing underneath the weed cover for the past few years – it has been used to grow pumpkins and squashes, and has been very productive.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the weed membrane – it frays easily at the edges which leaves little scraps of plastic flying around. A better option would be black polythene or one of the compostable versions that you can find online. However, I would recommend using this method to make a new bed. All you need to do, is cover the bed (as pictured) and then you can simply cut a few holes in it and plant through to the soil underneath. You can be growing your veggies quite happily, while underneath the weeds are being starved of light. Then, after a couple of seasons you can remove the cover, and top it up with fresh compost ready to plant.
It has worked so well for me – I’ve had to pull up the odd shoots that appear through the holes, but for the most part it has been fuss-free. Since removing the cover in May, I’ve had very few shoots to contend with, and just by pulling them up regularly by hand I’ve managed to keep them down very effectively. I did cover the soil with a good layer of compost, and then Strulch (which you can order online) and I think this has helped. I’m genuinely pleased with the success of it – so much less work than digging up all those spaghetti-like roots!!