Dealing with weeds

Follow plot holder Janet Bostock has shared her tips on dealing with weeds at the plot.

“The old adage, “a plant in the wrong place” is true. Whether native or a plant from another country, pretty and attractive to pollinators, if they spread too easily and are difficult to control then they become a problem.

You can save time by knowing them and removing them BEFORE they have settled in!

Why might that pretty plant become a problem?

Because it is difficult to control and difficult to remove once established.

Because the plant readily spreads across your plot, to neighbouring plots, gardens or over the fence into the wild.

Some examples:

Plants with deep roots (dandelions, blackberry, horse radish, green alkanet, ash, oak). Many arrive as seedlings which are easy to remove while small.

Plants with runners above or below ground (ground ivy, bindweed, nettles)

Plants seeding and spreading easily (dandelions, euphorbias, pendulous sedge)

Plants with bulbs, increasing both by seed and new bulbs (garlics, oxalis, Spanish bluebells)

Removing “weeds” when small, before they establish, is much easier than waiting till they become a problem.

Monty Don’s advice.

I haven’t mentioned horsetails. Just a nightmare of an invasive weed!

There are others that appear, foxgloves or forget me not for example, which are easy to pull up if in the way so can be enjoyed or moved to a convenient place.

Some can be eaten and enjoyed – Three cornered leek, all of the plant can be eaten, treated as a small leek.  Young nettle leaves make a delicious nettle soup.

Enjoy your gardening.

Janet Bostock”

How to beat tomato blight: last year was one of the worst years on all our sites

Thanks to plot holder Fiona Heath for putting together this useful guide on tomato blight.

Last year was one of the worst for tomato blight on all our sites. It’s a disease caused by an airborne fungus-like organism that spreads rapidly in the foliage and fruit of tomatoes in wet weather. Its spores can stay in the soil for up to 4 years.

Symptoms of blight:-

  • Leaves shrivel and turn brown.
  • Brown lesions appear on the stem.
  • Brown patches appear on green and red fruit, more mature fruit will decay rapidly.
  • The whole of an infected plant must be removed from site; roots, stem and fallen tomatoes. Do not compost or dig into the soil.

There is no cure, but prevention is the best control measure:-

  • Rotate your crops.  Don’t plant in the same spot as last year’s tomatoes or potatoes.
  • Give your plants some space. Plants should be at least 24 inches apart to allow adequate air circulation among leaves to keep them dry.
  • Water the soil around your plants.  Avoid overhead watering.
  • Mulch around the base.  Fungus can spread up from the soil.  Remove lower leaves.
  • Try using disease resistant varieties.

Hopefully, if we’re vigilant, we can prevent the spread of blight and have a bountiful crop of tomatoes.