Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

October 27, 2008

Beating Bindweed

My arch nemesis... the absolute scourge of the garden in my opinion is bindweed. If you don't have it in your yard, count your blessings. Personally, I know no gardeners in Utah that have not at some point fought this beast! Here's a picture of a section of my garden beds that have lain empty for about a month and a half. You can see the bindweed right there in the middle of the picture.The other "weeds", dandelions or mallow, are nothing, I don't even stress them at this time of the year. Just a quick pull to keep them under control and forget about it.

We've been really making an effort over the last few years to move toward a more organic method of growing on our property. This season so far we've not used any herbicide or pesticide on our food-garden at all. (full disclosure: I did use a broad leaf weed killer once on the front yard lawn around midsummer.) What this means is that where we don't have the advantage of being able to simply spray and let the wonder of petro-chemicals kill the weeds, we need to instead supplement that with other "inputs". In other words, it takes time and effort.

Through trial and error, I've found the best way to get some control over bindweed is to take a little time to dig the ground up and remove as many of the roots as I can by hand. Last spring I did this to part of the garden, as well as the spring before. This year, with the addition of the new beds, I decided to go ahead and dig the big area that was behind the birdbath. It was really getting infested and needed a dig. You can see here a little of what I'm dealing with. Those roots go down from the top of the ground to easily 12-15 inches. I have been taking a shovel full at a time and turning it over into another pile, and hand sifting through it to remove the root remnants. It's a pain, but really it's the only way I know to safely remove this pest without dowsing the garden in chem's. This year I'm also taking an additional step. As I finish the beds, I'm going to layer the bottoms with some fairly heavy cardboard in hopes that as it takes a year or more to break down it will deter the very deep bindweed roots from coming up.

And there you go. My very hands on, totally organic method of waging war on my arch nemesis. Will it keep it at bay forever???? Doubt it. Will it give me a good season or two of relative peace? Yeah, probably, and every year I do it I will find less and less of it to pull. Then, one day, I'll finally have it totally eradicated, just in time to find a nice piece of land and move somewhere where I'll get to start all over!!

You gotta love being a farmer!


Anonymous said...

You are so right about bindweed being the scourge of the garden. Please keep us posted on cardboard experiment. Also, you have motivated me to finally weigh all my garden output. It is impressive indeed how much you managed to grow this year. I'm at 231 lbs but still have to weigh a bunch of tomatoes, beets and garlic so that number should go over 300 lb. Maybe in a good tomato and peach year I will reach 500. Keep up the experimenting and the motivating. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hey P...a kettle of boiling water over my weeds kills everything, perhaps it would work on the bindi?


Anonymous said...

My rabbits seem to like eating it. That works for me.