Friday, March 03, 2006

Convulsed by Convolvulus...

I took advantage of the bright sunshine yesterday to put in a couple of hours of digging on the new lower half of my plot. The soil is wonderfully light, turns over easily, and is still rich in organic matter the previous owner put in last year. However, as it was ultimately left to go wild, it is chock full of bindweed roots.
Convolvulus Arvensis, also known as "bearbine" is a stubborn enemy whose roots can sometimes extend down for several metres. In my case I have chased it down to about 3 feet in some spots, but only out of curiosity. I think the trouble isn't helped by a story that when the site was turned over to allotments about 40 years ago, the council levelled the land by dragging topsoil down the slope, covering what I'm told was orchard like grass land...and burying the already existing bindweed several feet down, giving it an even better chance to be a pain. It's imperative to hand dig it, and try to take out every last bit of root fragment to a good spade's depth.
This makes for painfully slow going but there's no real option if you want to get rid off it. The second front in the offensive starts in the growing season when I meticulously hoe off any new shoots as they appear. No matter how deep rooted it may be, without leaves in the light to photosythesize it can't go on for ever I reckon. Following this digging and hoeing regime for 2 years, I have pretty much eradicated it on the ground I have previously had myself, and can look forward to easy digging in the future. It may be nice to have the extra space of the new plot this year, but going back into the trenches with convolvulus is proving to be a real bind!


Blogger antipodesgirl said...

rk thanks fr your encouraging comment about bindweed (SO appropriately named, as it's a bind and it gives you convolutions :-D
I know that in the virgin plots I can dig it out, but my problem is that I didn't realize what it was when I planted my seeds so I didn't take enough care with its roots and now I have seedlings coming up between the peas and the spinach and in the potato patch. So obviously now I cannot dig them out to a spade's depth. I will just have to handweed the veg every time I go to the allotment. Might find time to grow some things in between doing that I guess.
Someone told me to put it in a black bag till it starts to rot then soak it in a covered bucket with water, filter it and use it as fertilizer. Apparently it is quite good for that. Sounds like sweet revenge to me :-D

8:25 am  

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