Path maintenance and access development

January 2017, we took over our allotment and decided that, once we’d cleared the plot and removed all the old concrete, we would create woodchip paths with a geotextile barrier underneath to help combat weed growth.

We wanted clean and dry access around the plot, not least because it would be easier to get about on a mobility scooter. We decided on woodchip because maintenance is less than grass, and cats don’t tend to confuse it with their litter tray as they sometimes do with gravel. Another advantage is that, after the initial cost of the geotextile, woodchip can usually be sourced free of charge.

All that’s needed is a bit of effort in replacing old with new chips every now and then. Something we needed to do recently.

Woodchip path maintenance

Our paths had begun to look a bit tired and worn. The existing wood chips had, as expected, begun to decompose and were becoming a nice dark and crumbly material with some recognisable wood chips scattered throughout.

This material has been bagged and will be sifted. Larger particles will be put back on the pathways, and the dark and crumbly material will be used in the base of raised beds, incorporated into the compost heaps as a partial activator or just dug into the soils a soil improver.

We organised a delivery of fresh wood chips,

then removed and bagged up the old surface to be sifted later.

New material was laid and is looking neat and fresh.

Adding paths for accessibility

With the plot being a oblong, I have found it difficult to get access into the middle unless I use a walking aid, which is impossible on bad days.

The idea is to divide the plot into three, using two separate paths to allow easier access with my electric mobility scooter, as per the rough sketch.

The first area was prepared by removing the remaining crops, including Chinese artichokes (Stachys affinis – which are delicious, by the way).

With the help of our good friend, Elisa, from the Secret Garden, the cleared area was firmed, and entry and exit positions marked. I then drove the mobility scooter between the marks and we used the tyre tracks to delineate the path position and width. As can be seen from the pictures below, path one has been almost completed with the wood edging yet to be fixed in place.

Next we will move on to path two and marking out for the greenhouse construction. Look out for the next installment.

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