Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Cutting Weed Membrane to Length

Most of my beds on the allotment are 2.4m x 1.2m or 8ft x 4ft in old money, this is just a nice size bed and means you can reach and get to everything without having to stand on the bed. It also means that you can make a bed frame out of three 2.4m or 8ft lengths of timber, be it scaffold boards, timber decking or gravel boards. 

I normally make sure that the 1.2m width is 1.2m and on the new plot 1 beds the 2.4m dimension is maintained internally because I made the long sides longer to allow for the corner detail. 

As I have more beds I need more blank membrane sheets for overwintering and keeping the weeds at bay, and I'm also going to need some additional planting membrane sheets as I will be growing more produce.  I have also decided to make squash planting membrane sheets that will have two holes either end and in the corners and a watering hole between them. 

At the moment in the photo above I'm using 105 hole sheets that I use for onions and beetroots and have covered the middle with a blank sheet to keep the weed from growing through all those other holes. 
Using what's left of my 2m wide 50m long roll I bought off eBay I start by lining up the cut end with the patio decking tiles at the far end of the patio and unroll the membrane 
The decking panels are 500mm x 500mm square so I'm using them instead of a tape measure to get a rough cut length to play with. The 2m wide membrane is folded in half and is thus 1m wide of two tiles. Using the tiles as a guide I mark the length with a silver paint marker which shows up really well on the black membrane. 

Next job is to cut the membrane. I then roll up the cut length using a broom handle to roll it around. Place a couple of elastic bands on it and then slide the broom handle out for the next length.  
This process is repeated five more times before I pack away the main roll, and the 2.5m lengths that have been cut and rolled up are ready for marking up, trimming to 2.4m length with the soldering iron and then a 1.2m bed width is cut off leaving a 800mm off cut.

Cutting with a soldering iron melts and welds the edges of the membrane so that they don't fray and come un-woven and a mess to deal with on the allotment. I have planting sheets and covering sheets that are seven years old and still going strong.  

Some of these off cuts will remain at 800mm wide for the main path on the allotment, some will be further trimmed up for the secondary 600mm wide paths. I also have to 600mm wide beds that I will need some planting membrane sheets for with different hole configurations so all the membrane will be put to good use on the plot.

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