Posted: 07/06/2014 at 23:06
I'm in the by hand group too, the reality is you will need to dig the plot over anyway so pull the weeds out whilst digging over. Use a spade it's easier than a fork.
I recently got a plot in February, the brambles were visible but the weeds didn't start growing until April, so got ahead start .
The plot was partially covered in black plastic which I was advised had acted as a giant propogator for weeds, the advise was good and I soon discover a labarith of roots so be mindful about laying plastic for too long a period, on a positive note roots will grow close to the surface and come out easy if the area covered has been roughly dug and heaps of muck put on top and unless you have something to plant covering stops the weeds from growing.
Know your weed roots. I mainly had brambles, bindweed, couch grass and horsetail.
If you dig out the crown of a bramble you've killed it, the roots are none productive and will rot in the ground. Bindweed has white roots, the deeper roots are tinged orange. Couch grass are white, tough and stringy. Horsetail are black and the hardest to see.
I try to be organic but painted Roundup on tree trunk stumps and bindweed under a fruit tree. Bindweed growing up the rabbit proof fence is also destined for a treatment of Roundup . Roundup takes at least six weeks to be effective, you need to wait for it to reach the roots. At this time using this method wouldn't be a solution if you want to start growing stuff this side of August.
Burning surface weeds/grass will also kill the roots in some cases. If you have a lot of stuff to burn build a bonfire over a patch of weeds.