You can't turn your back for a minute

Now we are officially past the tiresome daylight-saving period, I feel we are truly into autumn. I don’t know about you, but I let things slide this summer. It was just too hot or too wet to get out and tackle the weeds, so now I have some parts of the garden that are quite embarrassing. These weed thickets are coming up to seed now, so they have to be eradicated.

Before you start the wholesale ripping out of large weeds, check for seed-heads. If they look ripe or nearly ripe, it is better to cut them off before you pull out the main plants.

Simply dragging the plant from the ground risks spilling seeds everywhere – remember, one year’s seeding equals seven years weeding! The cut seed-heads can go into your green waste bin, but this is an unfriendly act. Far better is to tie them up in some shade-cloth and drown them in a bucket of water for a few months. After that, the leftover slime can go into the compost and the liquid can be diluted and poured on the garden.

One happy thing about leaving weeds until you absolutely have to get rid of them is that they seem to be much easier to pull out. I think that they withdraw nutrients from the roots to form the flowers and seeds, so they have less of a grip on the soil. Of course, a weeding tool is still very useful for those annoying weeds that tend to break off at the soil surface.

The old-fashioned daisy weeder has morphed into a long-handled tool now, meaning less bending or kneeling is required and you have much more leverage. If you’re clearing a large area lever out all the weeds and then rake them up afterwards – keep your back happy!


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