Down on the Allotment

What's happening down on the allotment? An intimate account of a passionate veggie grower.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Know Your Enemy!

What a fabulous Easter weekend. Sun shine and heat! Although Matron does not do flowers, I like to leave some of my veggies to set flowers and go to seed in order to encourage bees and other pollinating insects. Here you can see my brussels sprouts and leeks just about to flower.

Elsewhere on the battlefield I have been straining my back for hours to weed my plot and get this hard London clay soil into shape for planting. This bindweed is just relentless.

This nasty stuff is everywhere, it always is, every year despite taking every single piece out of the soil.. it returns. When you try to dig it up or pick it out it is so brittle that even if a tiny piece remains it sprouts and continues. This is not just Matron's patch, but everywhere gardeners battle with the enemy be it dandelion, dock or couch grass.

So it made me annoyed last week when my favourite TV Gardener - my telly-welly-totty Monty Don, demonstrated how to grow vegetables. He just put his hands into perfect, friable compost, made a little hole and popped in a seed. Simple! No digging, no sweating, no broken fingernails, no bags, no weeds... just perfect conditions. Grrr! Matron had to sweat for hours on this claggy London clay to make even this much progress.

19 Comments:

At 10:41 PM, Blogger Dirt Princess said...

They always make it look easier on tv!! Glad you had a good Easter

 
At 11:05 PM, Blogger Chicken lover said...

No comment!
The fact that a certain female GW presenter only ever gardens in gloves says it all for me!
Welcome to the real world lol
Jane

 
At 12:33 AM, Blogger Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

Thanks for the shot of leeks! maybe that's what I planted and didn't remember :o) Lets wait and see what I get :o)

 
At 12:53 AM, Blogger Emma said...

Bind weed is bad - but mares tale is definitely worse, it's roots just go down & down & down - have both these plus couch grass on my plot. Have had the plot for 5 years & still haven't managed to eradicate it!

 
At 2:36 AM, Blogger Theanne and Baron said...

That's TV for you Matron...how to shows always cut out all the brutally difficult bits! We have something over here called "crab grass" (in southern Virginia) which sounds somewhat similar to the weed you described. I understand what you're going through, pulling crab grass was one of my garden tasks when I was a kid and as you say if you left even a tiny piece...it was growing like gang busters before you could get out of the garden. What you've gotten accomplished looks great, I know you'll find the strength and patience to continue!
Have to to have somewhere to put all those lovely seedlings!

 
At 8:49 AM, Blogger Magic Cochin said...

"telly-welly-totty" I understand now has a garden-girl who does the weeding for him ;-)

Luckily I don't have rampant bindweed, but if I turn my back the nettles and ground elder will be in there like a shot!!

Then there's willow-herb - the clever little monkey snaps off at soil level when you try to pull it out! And don't get me started on the creeping thistles...

Celia

 
At 9:18 AM, Blogger BilboWaggins said...

Yes, Monty's soil did look rather too good to be true, didn't it. However, seeing his industrial scale compost set up then I am not really surprised (it is OK to have compost bin envy?)

How is your Gardening Assistant? <ore Leo photos pretty please.

 
At 9:19 AM, Blogger Midmarsh John said...

I gave up watching Gardener's World, or whatever it is called these days, quite some time ago. To me they are no longer gardeners, just TV presenters who have dogs bodies to do all the hard for them work off camera.

 
At 11:47 AM, Blogger Vegetable Heaven said...

We have bindweed, ground elder and mare's tail in the garden. Like to see the TV gardeners cope with that! You just have to be more determined than the weeds, but as you say, they still come back.

 
At 8:15 PM, Anonymous Rachael said...

I guess gardening programmes wouldn't be very interesting/inspiring if they were half an hour of watching someone scrabbling around digging up bindweed!

 
At 8:44 PM, Blogger Green Lane Allotments said...

I hate bindweed too and there is no way I could plant in our ground with my hands. In fact I get a bit cross when they go on about not wearing gloves and imply only wimps where gloves. We often find bits of glass on our plot and to be honest I don't want hands like leather

 
At 9:44 PM, Blogger Chooks said...

I cleared all my bindweed today - well for the moment - because I know it will be back in time. Hate the stuff. Well done for you blog - very interesting.

 
At 4:19 AM, Blogger Dan said...

Good to hear the tomatoes I sent are doing well! Your Salmon Flowered Peas are doing well too. I'll be growing a nice pot of them this year.

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger Why I garden... said...

I have that nasty bindweed as well - suppose we all do. Monty did pull a bindweed root out of the soil on a recent show. He must have a few gardeners helping him - wish I did lol! Thanks too for visiting my blog, Kelli, Northern Ireland.

 
At 9:23 PM, Blogger mrspao said...

Oh yes, I know that nasty bindweed :( I had loads of it and couch grass on my allotment :(

 
At 7:25 PM, Blogger Plot50 said...

I battle with binweed .... and The Devils Asparagus aka Horsetail!!! I swear that it pops up when I turn my back!!

 
At 8:53 PM, Blogger melsanford said...

I know, I know - couch grass - grrrr! And just when I've got that cleared, some other little nasties start making an appearance. Not sure what they are yet but they ain't gonna beat me! Mel xx

 
At 8:31 AM, Blogger Jason said...

An approach I hear about a lot now is "no dig" just add organic matter such as cow poo to the top of the soil.

 
At 4:20 PM, Blogger Janet/Plantaliscious said...

Its the couch grass on my plot. I too was made deeply envious of Monty's lovely dark friable soil. Where are the annual weed seedlings? At least he had to dig up an entire garden to get rid of bindweed, and still finds some, so maybe he is human after all.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home

>