Sunday, May 27, 2012

Weeding

Hi there folks like every one i face the age old problem weeds.No matter how we garden unless we can devote plenty of our valuable time to it those weeds can beat us.

I like most of us have to do other things in my life so i do invite a healthy crops of weeds on occasions.Sometimes too many and it does take me awhile to get back in control but that's gardening.

Now i am one of these people who finds weeding relaxing and not much of a job i don't like so i suspect i subconsciously let them get the upper hand . And i use my hands to pull them out with minimal cultivation maybe a fork to loosen soil a bit. Most of my employees over the years detested weeding and would do other even more smelly jobs or harder jobs to avoid weeding especially by hand.

I've had them go home ,give up the job because of a few weeds ,which i always found amusing as its part of being a gardener.Give them a machine and they were happy and the sprayer was their favourite weapon for weeds. For me the chemical regime always seemed to be a last resort and only for certain areas.

I would use weedicides sparingly and still do around buildings ,hardstand areas,driveways i could justify in my mind and is still the approach i use today.Broad acre areas like lawns i would use selective weedkillers but if you have a regime of regular fertiliser and aeration ,caring for your lawn as if it was a single plant then you get a healthy lawn and less weeds.Because all a lawn is is lots of individual plants grown together.

So weeds what are they ? Usually a plant growing in the wrong place is my definition,and mostly annual ,sometimes perennial and they have been in your soil for maybe years just waiting to rear their heads when you give them the right conditions and you will.

What conditions do we provide well we till the soil,give them water and with a little sun away they go at a fantastic rate. And with our busy lifestyles they soon establish a good crop ,flower ,drop seed all in a matter of weeks and the next crop is already their waiting for similar events.

How to slow that  process down minimal cultivation methods is a good way ,remove weeds before they flower to reduce that fresh seed, good hygiene around the garden beds and compost those weeds if you know how to make a good compost as the heat from a compost heap will kill those seeds.

Mulch your garden beds therefore reducing light and preserving the texture of soil along with all the bbeneficial micro-organisms in the soil. Water as close to your plants as possible avoid watering the new crop of weeds. Ensure an adequate layer of mulch 4inches is a good depth of mulch and use whats seasonally available straw, lucerne ,pea straw , inorganic mulches are good as well things like gravel ,river stone ,some wood chips  can be long lasting although using some of those u may need to add a bit of fertiliser as these type of mulch can be a little toxic and will depleted reserves of chemicals in the soils .


Another excellent way is plant spacing can help reduce weed competition as it takes light away from seed planting closer is a good trick. Ground covers is an excellent way to reduce weeds as is companion planting lots of good books on that subject at amazon .Marigolds are excellent plant for reducing weed grasses as it has a chemical in plant roots which inhibits growth of grasses as does some acacias .


Of course you can use weedicides like glysophate which is good for killing weeds and will not as far as i know stay in the soil. So would be one of the safest one to use ,but you do need to be careful as if get on any young green parts of a plant you like sorry but it Will die. So u would need to paint it on or if spraying a calm day is required and if a chance of rain forget as it does need six hrs of no rain for effectiveness.


If you resort to chemical use please be responsible user and suit up wear approiate safety gear as even Round up can be dangerous ,it will give you headaches if u breathe in the fumes and worse with long exposure so safety ,safety  don,t spray near waterways or near fish because they will die.


So in summary those weeds can be controlled in various ways as can be seen above but the best is by regularly scratching around in your garden on a daily basis and you like me will enjoy your garden too cheers for now Steve Barratt your web based gardener