Monday 2 March 2015

Making Pegs And Planting Willow

I didn't do many homestead jobs over the weekend as I was working Saturday and there was plenty of rain on Sunday. We did manage to get some of my willow cuttings planted in the coppice. 
Axe, saw and froe - I idn't need to use the froe in the end as the wood split easy.
 we planted them through weed matting this time so I needed to peg it down. I guess I could have bought some off the internet but I decided it wouldn't take long to make some out of a few ash branches, so armed with my axe and a folding saw I could make about 4 pegs in five minutes with not too many swings of the axe. Anyone else make their own pegs?
Homemade peg to hold the fabric down
 The girls then came over to help plant some willows, it was really nice to have the four of us doing something together, we only managed to plant the basket willow (5 cuttings of 5 varieties each) as the rain came down pretty hard, but it's a start on this new area of the coppice.
Me and my helpers

Youngest getting muddy hands

Basket willow all in
For me doing things like this as a family is priceless.
Anyone else like to make their own pegs and things to save spending a few pennies? What other things do you knock up quick to save money and be more self reliant?
Also is there anything else I can buy in large sheets that's a little more eco friendly that the black horrible weed matting, it's better than using a spray to kill the grass but I've still got to dispose of it at some point. I did think about lots of cardboard again but it's so hard to hold down.


  1. got mightily fed up with having to gather up socks and losing the wires from under-wire bras so quickly ran up a wash bag with fabric from an old airtex style vest(heavy weight net curtaining would do) and a zip from my stash. Time taken 15minutes, cost zero and the boost to my lowered frustration levels priceless

    1. Little jobs that we put off are terrible, sometimes when we've dont then we end up wondering why we didn't do them sooner!

  2. Sorry Kev, I've got no advice to fact what advice can I give to one who I think is already multi-skill genius? I only use cardboard but not really ideal for big job, and I have them scattered here and there, not my choice design but nature's recent doing!! those cute looking, hardworking garden helpers you've got there,.. and still one more helper missed out from photoshoot, I suppose?... you're blessed:)

    1. My other helper was my wife, trying to stop the girls walking on the cuttings mainly! Cardboard is okay if I know there is no wind coming otherwise I need a way to hold it down.

  3. "Homemade peg to hold the fabric down".... me copee!
    Unfortunately, there is nothing that is an alternative...
    not even cardboard...
    I lost a lot of my little willows under bindweed and goosegrass...
    forced over by the weight. I was using 75cm squares of groundcover...
    pinned down with wire... and couldn't keep up with the speed that the creepers, goosegrass especially, could swamp the poor little beggars!!

    I grew the next lot on for a couple of years in a nursery bed...
    that worked better... being taller they were easier to cut around!!
    Even though they didn't have a 75cm black marker...
    I used fresh cut Crack Willow sticks as line markers in the nursery...
    great... I got myself twenty-four Crack Willows to plant out as well!

    We've just been re-roofed... the artisans think I am mad for wanting to keep all the old laths... but, even though they aren't quite off site yet, I've already made a haywain unit to fasten to the little trailer...
    that'll mean I can bring three times the hay off the meadow.
    Next is greenhouse staging for "She who must be obeyed"...
    and I haven't really started on the piles yet!!
    After the staging, I'll make some stands to keep them off the ground...
    that means I can store them outside, covered with a tarp, without fear of rot.
    Mental note... must get myself a froe...
    we get a lot of chestnut in the firewood here!

    And I made myself a splitter for hazel with an old bill'ook that I found without a handle at a vide-grenier.... two Euros... mounted up on a sit-on frame... basis is an old wooden chair without a back... and it works a treat...
    next is a de-barker on the same frame... but for the moment, the 10 to 12,000 year old flint ones we dig up in the potager seem to work a treat! They knew their stuff, did early man!

    1. Luckily no bindweed here - yet - but buttercups and grass smothered my willow last year! Not sure if I fancy growing it in a nursery bed as it's something else to look after and I'd worry that I'd miss one and end up with a big willow tree in the garden!
      When I'm on roofing I always take all the off cuts home and use them for something, like you said greenhouse staging is a great one. As for a froe, I'm sure you could make one or get someone to make one for you, they're pretty simple, I picked mine up from a carboot but it's homemade. I've also picked up billhooks from the carboot as well but not a barker yet! Mine you I don;t have any trees I need to strip!
      Thanks for your comment!

  4. Fantastic job and the pegs are such a great idea, I'll try that next time. I'm sure they'd work with cardboard, they're sturdy enough. Isn't your dad a farmer? Hasn't he got some old silage bags or something that you could use or are they too thin? - and isn't 'buttercup' on the wrong blog?....

    1. He has no silage (no stock since I left home) and the bags can be a pain, we had to pay to have the stuff taken away same with fertiliser bags.

  5. Wire also pegs down the landscape fabric, Kev. Suppose you could use old pit silage plastic or plastic from round bales. But you would have to make drainage holes. Unless you just put the black plastic to burn the weeds off first? I like Mypex landscape fabric because it's porous. If you make a couple of inches mulch on the fabric it should suppress the weeds. Cardboard is also good.

    1. I don;t like using wire just because of tractor tyres and the damage it would do. I think I might add some woodchip to the fabric.

  6. All a bit Bear Grylls for me. I am awful with sharp tools. My friend sharpened a spade to help me divide some plants for when we move. OMG I nearly cut my toes off.

    people kept saying to me to use baling plastic, for my apple trees and cherries to keep the weeds down. I asked my BiL and my cousin the farmer and they both said not to. compared to ground cover fabric, it tears and gets blown about all over and then the animals eat it. also if it is very wet during the summer, my BiL who used to run a plant and tree nursery, said that the roots will rot and the base go soft and die, (I know willow likes wet damp areas but with our extreme weather of late it is best to be cautious.). we had all previously been thinking how we could make some extra income for the farm, with willow, selling it as kindling or the such.

    Ground cover fabric is more expensive but I wouldnt want to poison any of my livestock. or have it twisted in their guts, if it was torn by the wind. But this is obviously just my opinion. Other people use it and are happy with the results.

    1. Sharp tools are safest, it's when you try to put to much pressure or effort behind something that accidents happen - believe me I know! My left hand is full of little scars!

    2. Also a sharp tool leaves behind a cleaner cut... and that heals both quicker and better!!
      Voice of experience!!
      Also, never, ever use a reap-hook to prune an inconvenient branch because it happens to be the cutting tool you are using...
      they don't...
      and after 40 years, I can still see the scar on my finger...
      NB: I was wearing good quality leather gloves...
      despite being totally ruined on the index finger, they probably saved my finger being pruned!!

  7. I make my own pegs rather than go buy them. I figure besides the actual cost in my case I am also saving the fuel costs. I only used em for some concrete forms though since I rarely if ever put down a ground cover tarp. For almost all ground covering I just use woodchips or roofing metal for the garden rows covered with barn waste.

    I was surprised at how fast Willows grow. I may have to plant a few down along my drainage ditch problem area.

    1. I think it's good to have a few things growing for materials other than firewood, and if I don;t use it I can always use it as firewood - a win win in my book!

  8. I must have go at those pegs , I love the little helpers too xxx

    1. try it, it's pretty easy - I'm going to post a video tomorrow on how I do it.


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