Tuesday, 1 October 2013


I've been working my way slowly across the plot digging and weeding. I've been concentrating on the edges. Weeding along the edge of the fence is good at this time of year and keeping the grass from the path outside the plot spreading in is a good thing to do. There are other problem weeds too, the worse on my plot now is bindweed.

As the days shorten and the average temperature falls various plants retreat for the winter. Many weeds have made loads of seeds which have spread around and we allotment holders kindly dig into the soil at this time of year. Bindweed is different. It does have flowers and seeds, but it spreads with fleshy roots. At this time of year the greenery shrivels and the roots swell. So digging up the roots now takes away the reserves that plant has built up for next year. Of course, it's not that easy.

The roots are fat and fleshy, but they break easily, so the ground has to be loosened and the roots carefully extracted. Some inevitably break and any left in the ground will grow next spring, but I have a plan for that too. The biggest problem area is around the perennials such as fruit bushes, rhubarb and asparagus. Digging up the roots of bindweed around these is very hard, but hopefully my new springtime strategy will help here too.

Next year I'm going to watch carefully for new bindweed shoots, but this time I'm not going to pull them up as I've done in the past. I'm going to push a cane into the ground next to the shoot and train the bindweed up it. Bindweed loves to climb, so that should be easy. Letting it climb should keep it in sight and not help it spead across the ground. As soon as there are a few strong leaves I'm going to carefully treat them with a systemic weed killer, such as glyphosate. That should kill the roots as well as the leaves and should make an impact on whatever remains of the bindweed.

My previous attempts to eradicate the weed has not worked, only kept it from overrunning the plot. Hopefully my current efforts and my new plan will do better.

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