The Land Rover Owners Wife

Getting to grips with the weeds

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A bit of a difference although i couldn't quite get all the grass clumps out.

A bit of a difference although i couldn’t quite get all the grass clumps out.

Any gardener will tell you that there is nothing like a bit of rain to really get a garden going. It can be quite a struggle to keep all areas of a garden watered during a prolonged dry spell but after all the time and effort put into sowing, growing and nurturing your plants, be they flowers, fruit or vegetables, many gardeners, myself included, will spend hours watering their plot, desperately trying to give the plants enough to grow and flourish. Such dedication and yet, though they may continue to grow, flower or fruit as a result of the attention, so willingly given to them, their progress is nothing compared to that which happens following a good, steady rainfall.
A tight spot to get into but so worth it

A tight spot to get into but so worth it

Perhaps it’s the lack of additives (give or take the odd pollutant of course) in the rain, as opposed to those found in tap water, or maybe there is some hitherto undiscovered ‘magical’ element within the make up of rainwater. Who knows, but whatever it is, it has the power to swell peas, beans, courgettes and squashes to double their size overnight and to stimulate inches of growth on root vegetables and brassicas.

Unfortunately, these ‘magical’ properties aren’t just reserved for flowers, fruit and vegetables! No, there is an army of weeds, intent on taking over any and every available space within a garden which, unfortunately, also benefits from the rainfall and these weeds grow at an even faster pace than my vegetables and are making my garden look very untidy! So yesterday (Tuesday) I started to get to grips with these invaders but there are still more that need to be dealt with and I will be tackling those today.

When he first designed the garden, Mud chose to put down a thick layer of gravel, to use as footpaths and over the driveway itself. There were several reasons as to why we went down this route but the main one was the security aspect – well have you ever tried to make a surprise visit to a house with a gravel drive and footpaths? It can’t be done – too much noise.

Leeks and mangetout before and after 20130730For a couple of years, the thick layer of gravel also served to keep the majority of weeds at bay, with just the odd one popping up at the edges. We hadn’t bothered with a weed barrier due to the vast area needed to be covered and the cost of barrier material. We had just finished the main renovations on the cottage which in themselves had taken a few years and so funds, although not exhausted, weren’t as healthy as they had been and so we opted not to put weed barrier under the gravel.

Now, some 8 (for the back) and 9 (for the front) years later, the gravel is a bit sparse and keeping on top of the weeds is a major battle.

“I’ll dig out the weed killer and give the paths and gravel a spray,” Mud had mused a few weeks ago.

Spot the difference

Spot the difference

It’s not that I’m incapable of operating a sprayer but to get to the weedkiller, involves unloading some very packed shelves beside Ciggy and, owing to the extremely cramped conditions in the workshop and the potential to inadvertently damage her panels/door tops/glass, I wasn’t prepared to try and get at the appropriate storage box. I also knew that Mud wouldn’t be over impressed with that idea either and so I had little choice but to wait for Mud to get around to liberating the sprayer and its’ contents. Unfortunately, with every available spare minute of each sunny day, currently being lavished on Ciggys’ rebuild, he never did get around to finding and then spraying the weeds.

First job of today!

First job of today!

A trip into the vegetable patch yesterday, served to highlight the dire state of the paths and beds (not that I would use weed killer on my beds anyway) in terms of weed coverage and, for some reason, really irritated me and so I donned my gardening gloves, grabbed a very large empty pot in which to put the weeds and started on the main gravel path through the vegetable patch. It had just stopped raining which is my favourite time to weed, as damp, moist soil is easier to get weeds out of than dry, baked soil and makes the whole job quicker.

Two hours later and the main path and the beds either side were looking much better and with my hands and arms tired and aching from the digging, tugging and pulling, I called it a day. Today I have the rest of the vegetable patch to do, as well as the gravel in the play and eating areas of the garden …..

….. and then there is the front garden! Best not forget the front garden, although I doubt I’ll get around to that today. The front garden and gravel area is making the street look untidy, never mind the house!

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One thought on “Getting to grips with the weeds

  1. Hi Elaine. I am so with you on the aching muscles from weeding. I finished my strawberry bed today, and it would seem in the nick of time as the next nine days are forecast for rain, which is much needed, and it is winter so kind of expected. Things always look so much better for a good weed. Your garden is looking great.
    Cheers Sarah : o )

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