In the past, I've been known to stick up for weeds. I've even given them their own catwalk on this blog. But that was when I led only my sheltered life, with the odd raised bed here and there and instant access to the hoe.
I now see I was wrong about them. I've spent all morning making barely a dent in a steely mass of weeds at the allotment. I didn't quite appreciate what a beast of a task this is (as an aside apparently 'beast' means excellent in teen speak, so says one of the mums at work. In this context, I promise you I do not mean excellent).
What I once thought was a simple task of uproot and discard is clearly so much more than that. See if any of this relates to you:
Turn up, take one look and this 'this is hopeless, I'll never get this done'. 10 minutes in, and a small square patch is complete. Criticise yourself for being slow. Still think this is hopeless. An hour in, with numb toes and sore hands you think, ha I'm breaking through. 90 minutes in, proud of your work you pack your things to for some food and your neighbour says in thickest Bristolian "you give up easy don't you."
Quick and dirty or steady and thoughtful
Two approaches to weeding - just get rid of the big stuff on top and make it look neat. Or remove each and every last root. The first may give you instant satisfaction, but there is long lasting pleasure to be had from the latter.
Baby out with the bath water
Mud sticks. This morning the soil was clinging on to roots as if there was a mighty fall below it. The temptation was to throw the clump in the compost, but then I could see gaping holes in the ground and knew I wouldn't be able to get away with that. And anyway, does soil re-grow itself?
My grandad always said worms were good for the soil. And we all hold them in reverence whenever we see them, repeating that mantra. Well today I got fed up with them. I accidentally maimed one early on and was very careful not to incur worm-god wrath with any more injuries. But they were everywhere. Skinny ones, fat ones, slippery ones and worst of all slow ones. I can't hang around Mr worm waiting for you to decide whether or not to move away from impending doom. Precious weeding minutes lost!
Fear of spring
Most people can't wait for that change in temperature, that evening light once again. Until those weeds are cleared, winter can hang around just that little bit longer. Otherwise, we'll all be on the back foot. But it does raise one question...
Why on earth do weeds grow through winter but not the veg?
Here's one I made earlier - well, actually my allotment buddy did. This is what I have to aspire to but it is worth it.
And as ever the trip to the allotment has the added bonus of the view on the way
The Hapless Kitchen Gardener
- Hapless gardener
- I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.