For years allotments were out of favour. No-one wanted them, and patches of mud with a shed at one end and weeds everywhere else went to waste. Then suddenly gardening became the new rock and roll, and everyone who didn't want to dig up their lawn wanted their own council-run patch of mud. The waiting lists grew faster than the cabbages. Now, after more than three years on a waiting list, Neil Shaw has been given his own patch of green and pleasant land.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Weed Wars

There was a time when I wondered what the difference was between a weed and anything else.
Now I have an allotment the answer is obvious. A weed will grow where you don't want it, a plant won't grow where you do.
Back on the plot in the glorious sunshine this weekend for weeding duty.
The potatoes are coming up nicely, but are surounded by couch grass and bindweed.
After trying a hoe, a spade and a fork I found the best way was to get my hands in the mud and rip out the offending vegetation by the roots.
Hopefully another two or three years of this treatment and they will give up.
The patches we haven't yet given so much attention to are now thriving - though again with weeds.
Among the tall grasses and brambles we are fairly certain there is a substantial growth of raspberries and gooseberries.
I'm itching to get in there with an industrial strimmer, a flamethrower and a rotavator - but the other half has her heart set on cultivating the crop for a year's supply of jam and frozen fruit.
Now the weather has warmed up it looks like we'll need to get up on the plot at least once every couple of days just to keep the weeds in check, let alone getting any more plants and seeds in place.
At least my recent birthday brought in a crop of anti-weed mats, so if we do get the jungle back in check we will at least have a fighting chance of keeping it that way.
We did manage to harvest a good crop of mint and rhubarb this weekend - so it looks like we'll be eating some mint-based fruit crumble dish for the rest of May.
I'd say Heston Blumenthal eat your heart out, but he probably would.