The sun is out, and the weeds are back. Winter had lulled me into a false sense of security and I’d forgotten about them, lurking under the soil ready and waiting to make allotment life as tricky as possible.
Unfortunately, we’ll never beat the weeds. These things are indestructible. They’re fit to survive a nuclear winter, and as long as the sun is coming up, the weeds will be the bain of an allotment holder’s life.
So, what do we do? Well, the simple answer is to pick them out. One horrible little weed at a time.
Here are 7 tips to make weeding that little bit easier.
Learn your veg seedlings from your weeds!
When veg plants and weeds are at the seedling stage, it can be difficult to tell which is which (my lovely wife made this mistake when weeding carrots – angry, of course, I wasn’t… honest).
Most seed packets will have a photo of the seedling, so keep them handy for when you need to weed your row.
Get the root out.
Removing the whole root is really importing as snipping off the top won’t necessarily kill the weed. Some weeds can regrow from bits of root left in the ground, so do your best to get the whole thing out.
Some taproots can grow to a foot in length, which means you’ll need a trowel or even a spade for the extra big guns.
Little and often.
A great mantra for anything to do with allotmenteering, and no exception where weeds are concerned.
There is nothing more disheartening than leaving the plot for a week mid-Summer and coming back to a jungle. You’ll end up spending a whole day weeding when you could be enjoying the weather and doing other fun stuff.
Buy a hoe
Avoid the back-breaking bending over by flicking the weeds out with a hoe. You still might have to bend down for the weeds growing in amongst your seedlings, but you can get rid of the ones in between rows easily with a hoe.
Leave the removed weeds in the sun
During Summer, save time by removing the weeds and leaving them laying where you pulled them. The hot Summer sun will kill weeds off in no time at all.
To compost or not to compost?
I know plotholders who compost down everything, including their weeds. I prefer to keep my compost bins free of weeds as I reckon they’re perfect environments for weeds to revitalise themselves and end up back in your soil.