No pun intended?
The weeds are now looking distinctly singed
But it’s not 12 times a year… before March frying them every 6 weeks should be fine, and after late September. So it’s just 5-6 months and I guess you spend a little longer over here in the summer? Do you have someone cut your grass? As if you could just get in 2 extra frying sessions you’d probably be fine.
Just mow it! Is it really a good idea to put more chemicals into our already polluted earth? If you want to keep your gravel weed free why not just pay someone to do it in your absence? In this way you build local relationships. If you’re in the middle of nowhere it’s still possible as most gardeners have cars! Feed the local economy with your cash rather than spend it on herbicides
OK, yes I agree - the one week a month was more a general “nice if” - it would be great to have 12 weeks A/L to spend here each year - as it is I get quite a generous allowance but not that much
No, we got one devis that fell into “having a laugh” category - yes, I understand it costs a lot to run a business here - but we were getting into the territory of being the same as a trip over using one of the Brittany Ferries special offers I’d rather come and do it myself and have a couple of days at the house.
In general probably not, although Pelargonic acid is supposed to break down (slightly cynically I might point out that the same is true of glyphosate) - in any case I favour the heat gun which is a chemical free solution (but burns fossil fuels - you pays yer money…).
That’s certainly a possibility - we did look at the local petites annonces & there were a couple of ads for odd-job people however they wanted paying by chèque d’emploi and if I understand the system correctly you have to be in the French tax system for that.
As for getting more devis for the gardening - I have had a look but the local gardeners are all phone only and my French is still at the point where a phone conversation is very difficult (lots of attestations on SF by people who’s French is much better than mine as to how stressful the phone is).
At the end of the day I just need to schedule more visits April-Aug, we managed it quite well last year and the garden was definitely better for it.
As with a lot of things in life it’s only an issue (I won’t say problem because it’s only a minor annoyance) because of changed plans and priorities. When we bought the house (AdV signed Feb 2015) we went for a place with a larger garden because we really liked the house and thought we might rent to cover running expenses. Plus the fact that we thought (and still think) we will retire here ultimately.
Since then tourism has been on the decline locally anyway, you-know-what has probably accelerated that rather than caused it but it is a factor and the more time and effort we spend on getting the house just the way that we like it the less I am inclined to take the risk of letting it to strangers. Had we been getting rental income I don’t suppose I would have minded 160€ for someone to mow the lawn - as it is that’s a bit steep.
I think we can draw the following conclusions from this conversation
- keeping gravel weed free is a pain
- there is no magic solution
- the weedkillers available to particuliers are a bit naff
- pelargonic acid, acetic acid, salt, heat gun and manual weeding all work but need regular re-application to keep the weeds down
- I just need to do more gardening visits.
Paul, we have been/are on both sides of the fence in that we had a holiday home here and now run a property management business. We never had anyone look after our place because we were out every six weeks or so, however there was always the dread of what were going to find when we arrived and certainly in the Spring and Autumn we spent all our time just clearing the garden. I don’t know how big your garden is but 160 Euros seems a lot just to cut the grass, are there any Brits near you who run gardening type businesses as they tend to be cheaper?
My terrace is gravel, about 5cm of pea sized gravel on top of 20cm of rammed castine on top of felt stuff. I pull the ugly weeds out by hand and let the others get on with it.
It is 210m2 and I don’t really fancy putting poisons on it.
I confess I worry about what we will find when we arrive even without renting it - I think @carlmt has said similar and I don’t doubt that many 2nd home owners worry about their properties when away, especially in areas where locals feel it is a problem (and Brittany certainly falls into that category although locally we don’t seem to have any overt problems).
Total plot is 2880m2 with a couple of hundred m2 taken by the gravel & house - say just shy of quarter of a hectare but with quite a few obstacles. I can do it in a (full) afternoon if it’s not too long to start with.
The guy that did the devis wanted 34€/hr for four hours plus 30€ for disposal of the cuttings - TBH it wasn’t just the money but the fact that he based his quote on how long I took; I rather expected him to come to the time decision himself with the result that my gut feeling was against hiring him.
We have British neighbours who’s garden adjoins ours who mentioned that the chap they use is about 20€/hr which I’d probably be happy with - but our visits haven’t coincided for about the last two years and other than putting a note through their door I don’t have any way of contacting them.
Not aware of any Brits in the gardening business locally.
That sounds well constructed and I doubt the weeds get much of a hold - ours is about 2-3cm of standard 10mm (maybe 15mm) gravel on soil - in fact one thing that might help would be another couple of tonnes of gravel and that is on the todo list.
I think that the main thing is that I’m not missing some “obvious” easy or ultra effective way of keeping the gravel clear and a combination of the heat gun, manual weeding and occasional herbicide use is where it’s at.
Apart from redoing the whole area in bound gravel I think all options have been aired!
The ‘black’ ie, cash only, is very common in France but won’t be found in the petits annonces. You need to ask around to see if anyone is interested!! It’s a better solution than being aggressive with nature who is only doing what comes naturally !!
There is presumably a difference between a cash transaction and hiring someone on the black - although I assume all “on the black” work would be cash in hand.
However, employing people “on the black” is illegal - for various reasons I would not be prepared to take the risk.
Surely a youngish retiree is permitted to accept a donation for cutting somebody’s lawn/ grass. I’m 75 can handle my tractor and would welcome a few bob extra!!
Didn’t you do a few odd jobs as a teenager for a bit of cash? Yes, someone running a proper business and fiddling the books with cash payments is wrong and clearly working on the black. However while our house was still our second home a neighbour’s teenage son did a few hours mowing every now and then for cash donation… I don’t feel guilty about that.
I didn’t ask you to feel guilty about it - I said I wasn’t prepared to employ anyone in France on anything other than a strictly legal basis. It’s hassle, and the potential for fall out, however tiny is not something I wish to risk. It’s not a big moral thing though, so I’m not going to worry about what others do.
Figure of speech…merely to explain my views. I’m not suggesting you did assign any guilt.
Vinegar works a treat, but only burns the leaves off.
I think UK attitudes are somewhat different anyway and liability pretty much only on the individual not declaring income rather than anyone paying them for work.
I know quite a bit of work happens in France on the black, it doesn’t especially bother me but I don’t wish to “go there”.