Monday, 7 August 2017

Weed Pressure Stops Me Growing More!

Dad thinks I farm nettles!
Weed pressure is what makes organic gardening on a large scale very difficult. The land has a huge seed bank of weed seeds that really take some controlling and although I'm probably dealing with it the best way possible this year I wouldn't say I'm on top of it!

Who else is suffering with weed pressure?
What do you do to stay on top of it?

28 comments:

  1. Kev, you're not alone. We have a beautifully white trumpet shaped flowers covering our garden ground - Vine Weeds!! I hate to think how many seeds we'll gain. I try to pull them as much as I could and use them as mulch to cover the soil from heatwave. They're winning for the moment...nevermind, one day winter will come and they'll be gone - for a while;P As an organic gardener, just chill out a bit:)

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    1. Vine weed is horrible! I'm luck to not have much here yet. Just try and get every bit out when you dig it up - almost impossible!

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  2. My allotment is on a poorly managed site with many plots growing nothing more than chest-high grass & weeds. So weed pressure (& slug pressure) is huge on my plot which is surrounded by neglected plots. I try to keep all unused areas of soil covered with a layer of straw etc to slow weed growth from below (moving it back to sow seeds), use no-dig methods where possible to stop more weed seed coming to the top, and try to use a hoe most days on the rest. The biggest problem is under all the pegged down netted areas which are harder & slower to tend & weed regularly. These can easily get out of hand & crops drown in the weeds. Also it's important to keep the soil really fertile & in good condition, so that the crops grow as quickly as possible in the very early stages otherwise all is lost to fast growing weeds & slugs.

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    1. We used to have the same problem when we had a couple of allotments, weeds would blow in, now I've only got myself to blame. Netted area always get neglected but I've solved this a little bit with the plastic, my problem areas are round the outsides.
      As for fertility I've got about 5 trailer loads of muck tomorrow hopefully!

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  3. My veg plot looks very neglected at the moment. But it still produces something and the wet summer here in Ireland doesn't make you want to spend time weeding. Have you ever used a flame gun for weeding Kev?

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    1. My allotment neighbour has - he has the scorched shed, beds & paths to prove it!!

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    2. I use it to burn the holes int he plastic I grow through and sometimes for going over a bed before the carrots come up!

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  5. After several wet and warm weeks our weeds are totally out of control! But the veg are burgeoning too! I try to keep on top of the weeds until the veg plants are strong and then it tends to be every man (veg) for himself! If you are growing good weeds then the soil is good enough for good veg/fruit. I long ago stopped trying to have a garden like Monty Don et al. They all have teams of gardeners to help don't forget, whereas with the likes of you and I it is us alone against the elements. I nowadays tend to garden as I bring up children "Not perfect but good enough "
    Gill

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    1. My weeds have jumped up about 4ft in places! I think the "not perfect but good enough" approaches matches mine, both with weeds and children! My kids are amune to nettle stings nearly (just a little fuss then they find a dock leaf). others come in and make a right fuss when they get stung!

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  6. why can't everything else grow like the weeds?

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  7. I think the main way I manage the weeds is designing the growing areas to make weeding easier and to make it less likely that things get out of control. My main vegetable plots (both 20'x80') were dug out of pasture and I have a 6' grass margin all the way round each. This makes it easy to go round with a mower. I also like to keep the edges neat, not because I am OCD but because it makes life easier and saves time not having to deal with grass creeping into the growing areas. I also space the rows to make hoeing easier. I do frequent hoeing but only a few minutes at a time. I've tried all sorts of growing styles but have reverted to a traditional style which Percy Thrower would be proud off, because among other things, I find it time-efficient.
    One other point to float. You've got some work to do Kev to get the weeds under control. I would be happy to follow the advice of the late great Geoff Hamilton who was an early advocate of an organic approach to gardening. He felt it was okay to use chemicals as a one off to clear a piece of ground but thereafter they were banished from the garden. Not a purist approach perhaps but maybe practical.

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    1. I messed up a bit when setting out, one feature that I love causes me so many weed problems, that's my cordon apple trees. Great for looking good and producing some great fruit, but tricky to weed and control under it.
      Mowing the grass would help but the mower is broke and so it just doesn't happen! Maybe I'll let the sheep in to eat it off!
      As fo the spray I have used them when I first came here but feel where I am with it all now I need to practice what I preach and not spray.

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  8. Come autumn any beds which don't have crops growing get covered with black silage cover, come spring and a warm up of the weather the covers are removed and the soil left for the first weeds to appear, they get hoed, we try to plant in lines to allow for hoeing as and when the weeds reappear.

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    1. I covered loads this winter just gone and it was the best decision ever. clean beds ready to go come spring. This year I plan to get some green manures down as well if I can.

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  9. Like Spade and dagger said, lots of old hay and straw for mulch. It takes lots of time in the spring but makes the summer more pleasant. And one more tip...cut back. Ask yourself which crops are absolutely needed for your family and your market and then cut back the others. The time we organic farmers spend weeding could be used preserving more food. You're a very hard worker Kevin. Maybe this winter do some planning on what is absolutely needed, then cut back a little. beats wishes and I love the videos!

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    1. I have used hay and straw in the past and have some bales I'm going to break up for some more mulch now.
      As for cutting back - Never! I'm terrible and just grow more and more, I do need to do more preserving though. When the kids go back to school (and my wife to work) I should have some rainy autumn days to get some preserving done!

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  10. I'm doing well this year simply because I've split my plot into four smaller sections, and they are far easier to manage. However, I am riddled with Oxalis and will have to deal with the problem this winter. Any suggestions?

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    1. I've got Oxalis too (I think from a batch of horse manure from a paddock, as horses don't really digest much & all the weed seeds come out the other end ready to sprout!). It's a total pest - I managed to break some up with a hoe by accident & made a huge patch from one clump. Carefully removal is the only way for me - digging deeply around the clump & lifting the whole clump with its' soil & 'baby bulbs' intact. If it is right in among crops, I pull off (never hoe!!) the leaves to slow growth & then wait to dig it out fully after the crop has been harvested.

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    2. Can you cover it over and leave a section for a year? Sometimes that;s the best way with a hard to beat weed. Splitting the plot up is the way to manage it better, since I've made my beds smaller everything has become easier.

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  11. gahhhh I missed it. Eden paradise lost was on last night. did you see it?

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    1. Just watched it on 4OD - I'll do a post in a minute to remind anyone that likes it!

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  12. First year on my allotment and had a three foot-wide strip left, so put in four squashes (Marina Di Chioggia and Butternut), two courgettes and two pumpkin plants. This was back in June. Some the squashes have branches trailing 7' from the root, so this weekend I pruned them back a bit. They're still about 5' in circumference though! Next year I think I'll use the space for growing more leeks, parsnips and swede! It's all a learning curve, isn't it?

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    1. Also, I would suggest pickling your beetroot. One of the most rewarding features of growing veg for me is pickling my paris silver skins and beetroots, which I know I'll still be eating well into the New Year!

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    2. If you have somewhere to store them, you can be eating squashes well into the new year too.
      Patio varieties of pumpkins & courgettes are much smaller plants with reasonable sized fruits. Also bush varieties of squashes are more compact in growth than the trailing vine types. To save space, Monty Don (Gardeners World TV) grows his trailing squashes up strong sticks in a teepee arrangement - I'm going to try that next year.

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    3. Squashes make me laugh with how mad they go. I have one squash that's bigger than my thigh already!
      Pickling is something I should do more of - certainly not short on beetroot thats for sure and we all love it here!

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  13. which I know I'll still be eating well into the New Year!


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