Utilising the hidden power of weeds

Without doubt one of the most important jobs for any gardener is the suppression of weeds. They will, given half a chance, destroy our desired plants; out-competing them for light, space and nutrients. However they are also an inextricable part of our local ecology and we may achieve better overall results by aiming at their rigorous control rather than their total elimination. (To be fair though there are some such as bindweed and Equisetum which can never be tolerated at all or they will quickly take over entirely.)

More effective weed control

This is the month when everything in the garden grows like topsy. The days are long, the soil warmed up, and fertility and winter’s rain are not yet depleted. But not just the crops grow, the weeds also. And it is now they are at their most competitive and need the most effective control. Now I spurn chemicals and even if I didn’t there would be little that could be used safely and easily amongst the mixed crops in the vegetable plot. The traditional option of hoeing is the first recourse but there other possibilities.

Weeding methods

We all do it and indeed much of our total gardening time and effort is devoted to it yet it remains one of the least attended to areas of horticulture. Few books, or courses, ever devote much space to weed control but good weed control is essential for all branches of gardening and especially in the kitchen garden where weed competition is fatal to many crops.

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