This year, I swear, I'll get all the space I have access to planted. Every year I reclaim a couple more plots from the weeds that rule them, but every year I have to reconcile myself to the fact that I can't tackle them all. Well, no more. It may take until August, and the plants I put in the ground may never produce, but by God, those plots are going to get prepped and planted.
With this goal driving me, I've been putting in four to eight hours a day in the garden(s), desperately trying to make up for an incredibly wet, cold spring, my inability to do anything significant last fall (shoulder injury), and standard issue procrastination and neglect. To my horror, it's now July 4th, and I'm still planting and, even worse, preparing to plant.
Just about everything that needs to be directly seeded is in the ground and growing. But my tomatoes and squash are still waiting for a home, and if they don't get one soon, I'll be in trouble.
The plan (ha, ha!) has been to get four new plots under production this spring: one next door, two across the alley, and the fourth along the alley outside yet another neighbor's property. (Yes, I am now encroaching on THREE neighbors' land.) Fortunately, a couple of these plots have been at least partially cleared of weeds in past years.
I'll try to report of what I tackle(d) in each case, and how it's going (or went).
I’ve gotten a couple of interesting responses to my earlier posts, Bindweed #1 and Bindweed #2 (thrilling titles, eh? Makes me feel like the Cat in the Hat introducing Thing 1 and Thing 2) which I’ll take up in more detail in a separate installment. Alan of Roberts Roost has suggested that bindweed is evidence of calcium deficiency. Has anyone else heard this?
Any other experiences, advice, or rumors (we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel, here) about bindweed?
Okay, on to the business of the day, which is this:
How to grow vegetables on a bindweed-infested patch with no blood, minimal sweat, and very few tears.
This post was inspired by one of the photos sent me by Laura, whose query about bindweed started this whole series. Even though it’s in the first of my posts on the topic, I’m going to save everyone a click and reproduce it here:
That was taken a couple of months ago (I got the photos on July 25), and Laura says that everything in the foreground of the photo in front of the beets is bindweed, to which I say, That’s a lot of bindweed.
Several days ago I mentioned the bindweed question I’d gotten from someone by e-mail, and started this long, involved answer. This is the second installment.
So far I’ve gotten one response, from Mr. McGregor’s Daughter, detailing a novel way of handling bindweed: she snips the stem and dabs the cut end with a cotton swab dipped in Roundup. Read all about it on her blog.
When I look at the number of shoots coming up in Laura’s garden, I quail at the thought of dabbing each one with a bit of anything. Of course, once you see what I’m recommending below, you may think I’ve got my priorities seriously skewed. I prefer to drastically reduce the number of sprouts and then kill off those that remain with a method like the cotton swab favored by Mr. McG’s Daughter.
This is the first of several posts on bindweed, scourge of the gardener’s life. I’m hoping to hear from plenty of people about methods and tactics. After all, it all started when a woman in the north-east corner of Montana sent me these pictures of her garden:
Those are bind-weed sprouts there against the bare ground and bindweed climbing the tomatoes. (I think those are tomatoes.) Now take a look at this one:
This is a revised (shortened) version of the original post, which included a long section from the lawn-care article mentioned below. For that article in its original context, click here for the weed page and scroll down for kudzu.
kudzu on the march– photo from the Coalition.
The endless lawn article (Hey—how’d that work as a movie title? The Endless Lawn Article. You know, as a sequel to The Endless Story? No?) included a section on weeds, of course, and it occurred to me to wonder if the most famous weed of all, kudzu, was a problem in lawns. So I started googling away, and found things that made it hard to sleep at night.
I swear, kudzu is the stuff of nightmares and really bad science fiction movies, but it’s real. It’s a leguminous vine—yes, it’s cousin to your beans and peas, and brother to soy beans—but unlike any of those, it can grow several feet per week, enveloping entire trees, which it kills by depriving them of light and water. It looks most spectacular when draped over a thirty-foot-tall tree, but left unchecked, it will take over whatever is in its way, including, yes, your lawn.