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wellington womble

Paths in the kitchen garden

I'm rethinking paths in the kitchen garden. What do people do? I have tried, over the years:

Brick (grows weeds. Hard to weed. Questionable 'frost proof' bricks, though)
Bock paving (ditto, but worse)
Grass (needs mowing and edging. Muddy and wet in winter. And summer, actually)
Woodchip over weed supressing membrane (good initially but grows weeds, weeds and more weeds when breaking down. Also aids and abets spread of bindweed, which I have never had the pleasure of gardening without)
Straw (worked better than expected but blew away in dry weather initially and then got compacted and wet. Would need changing every year, but cheap and easy to lay)
Gravel (last years trial, but I moved before it was fully tested. I suspect it would gradually accumulate detritus and weeds before long. Expensive too and heavy to lay)
Paving slabs (best of the bunch, but expensive and seriously heavy to lay. Still grow really awkward weeds in the cracks. I seriously hate weeding in cracks)

I've been to loads of gardens and woodlands and so on over the summer and seen lots of different paths. Lots of them seem to be some sort of compacted hardcore, which is obviously hardwearing and fairly easy to maintain. You see it on farm tracks and things as well, so I imagine it's cheap(ish). I wondered in it might work in a vegetable garden and if anyone had any experience of it? Or anything else that would mean much less time on path maintenance so I can concentrate on being behind on the actual gardening!
dpack

deep and compacted(vibrating roller)hardcore is pretty good

slabs over deep hardcore blinded with sand, a membrane and more sand is pretty good

pre used road surface minced and compacted is ok

gravel is a constant nightmare of digging bits out of boot soles

deep hardcore and 100mm poured concrete with a slightly ridged and cambered surface is ace if done well or dreadful if not

carpet can be a pretty good free path,on my allotment i found carpet a very useful material but it aint pretty

the roman road system of layers of various materials is good but rather material and labour intensive

if i wanted long term and pretty and could spend a few quid concrete would be my choice,there are mould sheets and colourants to make it look like stone,bricks or swirly rainbows if that is to your taste.
Mistress Rose

We have a grass path down the garden then membrane and chip between the beds. Not good, but if you have raised beds put the membrane under the edge of the beds as things like brambles get along the edge.

In the woods we have used crushed concrete on one track, but it has potholed a bit. Admittedly it has had tractors running over it. By the road we laid road scrapings, and they seem to be pretty good. They have only had cars over them, and the water running down the lane does tend to wash away the edge where it joins the road a bit, but otherwise excellent.

One trouble with gravel is trying to run wheelbarrows over it. My DIL can't walk properly so says it is an E trap, and trying to run her wheelchair over gravel is difficult too.
OtleyLad

A perennial PITA! The previous owners laid end to end concrete flagstones up the garden in harsh straight lines - when it rained water would run down it towards the house. They also had a solid straight concrete path going up the steep slope to the top of the garden - lethal when wet and/or frosty. They went for ease weeding rather than looks.
So we separated the flagstones to break up the water flow (it now soaks away between them) and break up the harsh lines. I replaced part of the concrete sloping path with wooden steps.
More pleasing to the eye but weeding is a continuous battle. If I wasn't into organic gardening I'd reach for the weedkiller.
I've re-done a section of the flagstones laying weed suppressant membrane underneath and gravel between the stones. Looks nice and at least the weeds are easy to pull up now - hope the membrane lasts for years.
Looking ahead I'm trying to set the garden up to minimise the labour required to maintain it - I won't be this fit for ever - although looking at it now you wouldn't believe it.
Having the right tools (powered where possible) can save you a lot of backache though.
wellington womble

My membrane lasted really well, it was the woodchip on top that was awful. I'm never having it again as a path (I'd still use it in a chicken run)

I loathe weeding paths. I don't mind weeding the actual vegetables, but not paths. I've been enviously looking at the crushed and compacted whatever-it-is that the national trust have on all their paths. I reckon with a small wooden edging to stop erosion and keep the soil from spilling on it that would work great (I'm also anti raised beds. I had some made out of the recommended old scaffolding, and they're hard to dig weeds out of and rot in a few years. I just want a bit of edging to keep the soil off the paths)

Minimal research suggests that I need to scrape out a trench, fill it with crushed whatsitcalled with proper ratios of small bits to big bits (or something) and bash it down with whacker plate.

I have access to a digger, so all I'd need to do is find out what the stuff is called, barrow it in and hire a whacker plate/person with whacker plate and never weed again. The only tricky bit might be getting a camber on it so it drains (and finding out what the wretched stuff is called. Why do I never know the right name for things?!! It makes things so much more difficult) but for even the biggest of kitchen gardens, it must be fairly cheap and effective?
dpack

a good whacker operator will put a camber on it no prob.

it aint a diy job even if you are used to groundworks etc

ps most of em lip read so dont expect an answer unless they can see your face Rolling Eyes
dpack

this ?

if it is a bit tarry you can top out with a cleaner material such as 20mm to dust chalk,sandstone (or whatever the local geology provides)and whack that into the surface

if you have access to a digger with a front loader bucket it will be fairly easy to get it as a wagon load and move it about,if you need to shovel and barrow it you will get fit Laughing

if you dig deep enough and compact inwards from the edges you dont really need edge boards

if you know how long,how wide and how deep the supplier will know how much weight you need to allow for packing it in to the volume

bear in mind that the whacking will compact the soil as well so allow for that when calculating depths and amounts .
Mistress Rose

Whatever you use, I would still put membrane under it. Dig out, put the membrane down, than put the top on. You can get various types of scalpings which are stones mixed with clay, or the road planings that Dpack mentioned. As you will only be using a wheelbarrow over them at worst you won't need to build up a base layer then a top layer. We have used road planings on an area where cars park, and it has quickly got covered in mud so doesn't show up as anything other than a hard mud surface. We used crushed concrete on another track that we use tractors over, and that has rutted a bit, but then we didn't do much preparation on the ground first.
wellington womble

Yes, scalpings appear to be the stuff I am on about. Thank you Hampshire County Council http://documents.hants.gov.uk/countryside/designstandards-pathsurfacing.pdf and Dpack (of course!) I hadn't thought of moving the stuff with the digger (although it wouldn't do me any harm to lose a few pounds!) it seems silly not to use it, as it's just sitting there. I will have to bake a pork pie for the operator! I don't suppose it would take long, though.

I think I will put a membrane down, although I suspect the compaction will pierce it. Anything to help with the bloody bindweed. The edging will just be to stop me spilling soil all over it when I dig.

Prices vary, but look to be around 50 a ton. I don't suppose I would need more than three or four even for my most ambitious kitchen garden, plus the hire for the plate and person to operate it. It seems reasonable. I'll go and find the 'kitchen garden' under the jungle and detritus later this week and give it a go. Thanks all.
dpack

if the digger driver can do a rough spread you will still get plenty of exercise with a barrow and shovel doing the fine adjustments before and during the whacking.

if you work out how much you need get an extra 15 % cos there will be bits were the soil compacts more than others and so will need a bit extra

if you put the to be moved by barrow amount on a couple of conveniently placed boards you will find it much easier to shovel from the edge of the heap than it is to try to shovel into a heap on soft ground.

if you haven't got one an all steel builders shovel will be a good investment and fill the barrow tyre with "slime" or similar,they always spring a leak at the wrong moments.good gloves are a must as blisters and cuts are no fun to work with.

the last one i did was a 5 x 10 m chalk and chert platform for a portacabin and although 20 tons looked a lot in a heap with a digger and a bit of hand finishing it was a lot easier than i expected.
crofter


Prices vary, but look to be around 50 a ton.


That seems expensive. I have just bought a lorry load @ 2 pounds per tonne, but maybe for smaller quantities you would expect to pay more. Get some more prices & try to get recycled product so you do not have to pay the aggregates levy.
NorthernMonkeyGirl

IIRC Bob Flowerdew uses straw on his paths, then at the end of the season it goes on the compost heap and fresh stuff goes down.
dpack

iirc the price depends if there are any road repairs being done locally when you need it.
wellington womble


Prices vary, but look to be around 50 a ton.


That seems expensive. I have just bought a lorry load @ 2 pounds per tonne, but maybe for smaller quantities you would expect to pay more. Get some more prices & try to get recycled product so you do not have to pay the aggregates levy.

It's all log in-for-prices, so I wouldn't be surprised if it is much cheaper, especially by bulk load. When I'm sorted, I look properly and be pleasantly surprised (especially if it's 2 a ton!)
onemanband

@ 2 a ton I guess Crofter lives next to a quarry or in the middle of nowhere and they happened to be doing the roads near him ? Wink

45-50 is about right for a 1ton dumpy bag of 'MOT' (crushed granite) from builders merchants.
Few quid a ton cheaper if you get delivered loose.
Another few quid cheaper if you collect loose, but round these parts that's still 35-40
And round these parts an 18ton load is still IRO 30ton

Recycled stuff 10-25ton. Some places do 'clean' crushed concrete, but it's usually crushed demolition rubble and full of crap - instead of pulling weeds from your path you'll be picking out bits of glass, timber, plastic, metal etc

Scalpings vary depending on availability/being in right place at right time.
Ty Gwyn

Different part`s of the country tend to have different names for many thing`s,
In South Wales,Scalping`s is basically quarry waste,crushed to roughly 1 1/2 inch down,surface rock layer`s containing dirt/clay.

Road repair product known as Road Planeings.
Ty Gwyn

Different part`s of the country tend to have different names for many thing`s,
In South Wales,Scalping`s is basically quarry waste,crushed to roughly 1 1/2 inch down,surface rock layer`s containing dirt/clay.

Road repair product known as Road Planeings.
wellington womble

I think that's the stuff. 40mm is a bit over and inch and a half, with clay to stick it together (it's a bit like making pastry!) crofter

@ 2 a ton I guess Crofter lives next to a quarry or in the middle of nowhere and they happened to be doing the roads near him ? Wink

45-50 is about right for a 1ton dumpy bag of 'MOT' (crushed granite) from builders merchants.
Few quid a ton cheaper if you get delivered loose.
Another few quid cheaper if you collect loose, but round these parts that's still 35-40
And round these parts an 18ton load is still IRO 30ton

Recycled stuff 10-25ton. Some places do 'clean' crushed concrete, but it's usually crushed demolition rubble and full of crap - instead of pulling weeds from your path you'll be picking out bits of glass, timber, plastic, metal etc

Scalpings vary depending on availability/being in right place at right time.

It was a 20 tonne load of recycled scalpings, not too much dirt, & I should have said that delivery was not included,
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