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Tackling weeds on the veg plot

Posted: Wednesday 25 July 2012
by Pippa Greenwood

I have the biggest, most vigorous and most infuriating weeds ever. They appear in the blink of an eye and set seed as soon as I turn my back.


Digging up a weed

I have the biggest, most vigorous and most infuriating weeds ever. They appear in the blink of an eye and set seed as soon as I turn my back.

I’ve been growing most of my vegetable plants under mesh cloches and pull-out tunnels this year. This is to protect them from pigeons, which have been exceptionally destructive. These cloches also give the plants a little extra shelter from the wind and allow more warmth to accumulate around them. They’re great for speedy plant growth, but sadly also great for weeds.

As these rampant weeds compete with my veg plants for food and light, it’s vital to get rid of them. And to prevent even more appearing, I need to stop them setting seed. So I’ve been busy hoeing them off, forking them out and pulling them up – at least they come out easily, as my soil is still wet.

But the ground is so soggy in places that it’s not a good idea to step on it when weeding. In those areas I resort to shears, or better still my long-handled lawn-edging shears, and it’s off with their heads. Not the ideal solution, but at least it gets rid of the flowers before they can turn into seedheads.

Our very lively hens (from the British Hen Welfare Trust) and three ancient geese love to eat the lush leafy weed debris, so I feed them everything I know to be safe. Any chunky roots that I’ve managed to fork out, from dandelions and other perennial weeds, I put into an old plastic bin full of accumulated rainwater. Here they rot (rather than revive) and eventually turn into a stinky but highly nutritious ‘soup’ to feed to my plants.

All the remaining debris goes into the compost bins. These are now bursting at the seams – one of the few blessings of having such a profusion of weeds.





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