Monday, October 20, 2014

couch grass clearance

The cosmos is still really going for it but autumn has definitely arrived.....

Which means that it's time to get to grips with the couch grass.
Back in April, I did a bit of rough digging on the middle section of the plot. The ground was like concrete but I managed to break it up a bit. I chucked down some piles of well rotted horse manure and covered the whole section with black plastic. Then I cut holes in the plastic and planted through it squashes, courgettes, dwarf French beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and sweetpeas; all of which did really well and produced bumper crops.

Now the crops have been cleared and I can clearly see my trio of most tenacious weeds.

The docks and bindweed have
Dock sneaking out
taken advantage of any tiny gap in the plastic, even forcing themselves through the neckhole of a pop bottle. A part of me can't help to be impressed! Isn't it a shame they don't make good eating? The couch grass, though weakened where deprived of light, has redoubled it's efforts along the edges.

I will dig this area now and remove roots as I come across them; maybe border the edges with wood. I plan for this area to become 'no dig' beds in the future.
The docks grew like crazy where the plastic was split

No Dig systems sound so easy but the truth is that couch grass and bindweed will quickly overwhelm them, strangling plants both above and below the surface. The ground needs to be 'cleaned' of perennial weeds first.

Horseradish growing in pipe

In other news, the horseradish in the pipes seem to have taken well. Here at the stoney end of the plot I have planted my elephant garlic and some wallflowers this week. I will edge this bed with daffodil bulbs. Apparently, couch grass hates daffs! (Who knew? ) and won't encroach the bed past them. What's more, a host of bobbing daffodils to greet me will be a welcome sight on a cold February morning.

A less welcome sight is this poor dead rat. I hoped that a fox might come and remove it but no, looks like I'm going to have to overcome my squeamishness and move him myself. What does one do with dead vermin these days? Bury it? On a plot where you grow food? Insights and sage advice gratefully received!
Gorgeous globes

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