hoeing paths

Our paths have gone from squelch to rock hard in a week. When it was squelch there was little sign of weeds and I didnt hoe. Now weeds everwhere but paths are rock hard and hoeing almost jars my fillings out.

Any ideas how to maintain the paths if they continue in this vein? Or perhaps my technique is all wrong?

 Yes a tricky one and mine are similar, probably a little softer from organic matter added over the years, to the beds, which birds have flicked onto the paths. Also not too many weeds but they are sure growing now. It has been such a difficult six weeks of regular rain making muddy paths, followed by a sudden drying. But beds have penty of moisture under their dry surface.

For weedy paths you could either hoe and build up muscles, or mulch with variations of paper, cardboard and something to weigh it down like grass mowings or a little compost, or buy some low grade municipal compost which will help in the long term by improving the structure, spread two inches thick or so.

By charles

Yes, after making neater beds this year, I now have lots of rock-hard 2ft paths where weed activity is starting to crank up! Luckily, I live very close to the TripleFFF brewery in Four Marks, Hampshire (highly recommended!) and they kindly allow us to help ourselves to the waste hops whenever they clean out the vats.

I normally mix this into my allotment growing areas where it appears to do a grand job at soil conditioning - well, according to the very high worm count anyway ;-) Oh, and the smell that lingers for days is wonderful too.

It does seem a little wasteful to use it on my paths, but there is such a plentiful supply that it doesn't really matter. Perhaps you could find a similar local brewery near you. There are lots of them popping up as their product is so much better than the mass-produced drivel.

Charles, my sincere hope is that there are no hidden issues with using so much used hop product on my allotment, whether spread on the growing areas or the paths?

Regards
Ian

By ianb

I garden on a system of 8ft (2.4m) wide bays, so I have a path every 8ft. Most people would simply let them grass up but then you have the problem of maintenance. I just hoe them with a Wolf push-pull hoe, (my favourite tool). I agree that it can be difficult when the path is rock hard but if done regularly its less labour intensive. As with all garden maintenance its a case of "a stitch in time" or as an old country boy once said to me "knock em up when you`ve got none". There is nothing more time consuming than grass paths and grass edges, ok they look pretty but I try to eliminate them where ever possible.

By Pete Budd