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Weeds

Don't you just love them!

A weed is just a plant growing in the wrong place. Weeds compete with our flowers and vegetables for precious water, light, nutrients and space, which will affect how well our garden plants crop or flower. And as weeds can be very invasive, they spoil the look we try to create.

 

As with flowers weeds fall into two main categories; annuals that complete their life cycle in one year and perennials that live for many years seeding new plants each year. The real problem weeds are the pernicious weeds, that are both annual and perennial, and don't seem to be affected by the weed killers we subject then to.

 

One small role that weeds can play is to indicate the soil type, for example horsetail would indicate poor drainage. Weeds are very proficient at colonizing bare ground, thus stabilizing soil that might get eroded by wind and rain. Some weeds, namely nettles, are vital for some egg laying butterflies, so it is always advised that if possible you should try to leave some nettles growing, but cut them down before they seed. There are some weeds that are used in medicines, others in can be eaten, like making dandelion soup.

 

You have no control over most weeds as they are blown into your garden as seeds, but you can control others, such as making sure all new plants you buy do not bring weeds with them, by scraping away the top few centimetres of soil. Regularly check any manure or mulching that you have used, just in case you bought weeds as well. Creeping roots can infect your garden from your neighbours so you would need to dig a trench and put a barrier in, at a depth of 1.5 ft.  Some seeds will lay dormant in your soil until you fork it over and bring them to the surface.

 

Weed control is a chore every gardener has to suffer. Acquiring a good weed book will help you recognise them early on. Weeds are a lot easier to remove when they are young, as most will grow strong root systems, which when pulled will re-grow from the smallest piece of root left behind. You need to be vigilant and pull weeds when you see them as some propagate very quickly, like hairy bittercress that will seed all year round, at 3 weekly intervals.

 

Bare ground is best kept weed free by covering with a membrane or mulching, this stops seeds getting to the soil to germinate. It can also stop weeds growing from roots by not allowing them access to light, but some like docks can be indestructible, or at least it feels like it. If you are preparing a new plot you can cover the area with old carpet, black polythene or cardboard, leave it over winter or possibly even a year and it will kill the weeds off for you. The latter two will need weighting down with something to keep it in place, grass cuttings are a good source.

 

Hoeing is a good way of keeping weed seedlings en masse, from growing to full size in and around your plants, they shrivel and die very quickly. Hoeing will cut perennial weeds down but they will just re-grow again. With these weeds you really need to get your hands dirty.

 

Hand weeding is best done when the soil is damp, then the root has less resistance.  Use a trowel or hand fork to help ease the root out as you are pulling it. This can be a back braking task so little and often is best.

 

Flame guns are excellent tools for weeding on driveways, pathways and paving, but are still not ideal for permanently removing perennial weeds as they will just grow back. A flame gun is best used when weeds are young and no taller than 2 inches (5cm). Do remember to remove anything flammable, and wear protective clothing.

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 Be vigilant and you will win the battle with the weeds.

 

Return here soon as more information will be regularly added.

 

Learn the secrets to growing a successful organic vegetable garden and discover... 

"how to grow strong, healthy plants that truly nourish you and your family so that...."

    ....you can get back to the basics of really living. 

By creating a healthy garden - and lifestyle - you will regain energy levels, help restore your immune system and give yourself and your family the best chance of living long, happy and healthy lives.

Companion Planting

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How to choose the right plants to grow together

         Which plants you must never grow together       

·         How to protect your fruits and vegetables from insect attack

·         How much to plant for your family

And that's just a small 'glimpse' of what's included for you. This guide was created out of my own need for a simple, concise system to easily decide what plants would grow the best together. I've gathered this information from both my own experience and from many different resources. And now it's all at the press of a button!

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