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To cover or not to cover ground with polythene


By Novices

Tyne And Wear, United Kingdom Gb

We have had an allotment since last April and are still learning!!! Is it best to cover the beds with black polythene for the Winter or leave them open for the birds to eat the grubs. We have spent many back-breaking hours clearing the weeds!!!



Once you have dug the ground over I would certainly recommend mulching but putting polythene down for several months is going to have an adverse effect on the soil as you plan on growing veg. in it next year this is probably not a good idea.

28 Oct, 2010


Thanks very much for your comment. I really wasn't sure what to do as some people say polythene stops the weeds but in a gardening book I've got, it says leave the ground uncovered to let the birds etc., eat the grubs. One more question-what sort of mulch would you recommend. You can see why my husband and I call ourselves novices!!!!

28 Oct, 2010


The best mulch (he says, getting in before MG comes back to the screen) is a layer of well rotted manure, as that will break down over winter and can be dug in next spring. It can, of course, be dug in now, but it is useful as a mulch, plus, birds love to pick over it too. Phil

28 Oct, 2010


you could use polythene for a while but not all winter .

28 Oct, 2010


NP I would not use polythene at all on an area where I planned to grow veg. It will denature the soil. Okay you beat me fair and square Phil, I agree that is the best mulch... Others would be grass clippings and even cardboard BUT well rotted manure is THE best :-)

28 Oct, 2010


ive done it and not had any problems .

28 Oct, 2010


The soil can't breath through polythene NP and basically the worms etc will up and leave. Remember Novices isn't asking about weed membrane that does allow soil to breath.

29 Oct, 2010


i know shes not . whats good enough for allen titchmarsh is good enough for me and i wouldnt leave it on to long either .thow come to think of it youve thaught of a very good idea for overwintering your empty plot and that is the breathable membrane you inadvertantly mentioned which you can leave on all winter novices . bye the time you take it of any weeds will be fertiliser and the soil will be great .strange way of comming up with a great idea moon grower . as my nan said two heads are better than one even if there sheeps heads lol .

29 Oct, 2010

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