Monday, May 16

What a bind

This past week or two I have been doing something that has been needed for a while. I've been clearing out the Joan J autumn fruiting raspberry bed.

In parts of our plot we have a problem with bindweed. It snakes its way in amongst plants with surprising speed and then tenaciously clinging to them making disentanglement without damaging their chosen hosts impossible. The problem is made even worse to deal with as underground the roots are matching the progress being made above ground and weaving themselves in amongst any other plant roots forming a thick matted mess. It's the stuff of early horror films.
Don't get me wrong, where hedge bindweed is growing in the right place and scambling along hedgerows, I am full of admiration. The flowers are striking.
 We've even raised some of its more colourful cousins from seed.
In the right place it's fine but holding our autumn raspberries in a strangling embrace is definitely not the right place. A plant in the wrong place is a weed and so it was time for this weed to be given some attention.

Last year's bindweed top-growth is dead but you can see the remains of the dry stems tangled round last season's raspberry canes.

Given the nature of the beast the only thing to do was to dig everything - raspberry plants and weeds alike - and remove as much bindweed root as possible. I removed 7 bucketfuls of root but I don't kid myself into thinking that I have removed the lot. Any tiny remnant will make a bid for plot domination.
The roots were duly removed from the plot as to compost them would have been madness. I now need to try and be vigilant and remove any new growth as quickly as I can.

As they had become thick and congested, rather than just replant all the raspberry roots, I split them and have chosen the healthiest bits to replant.
I gave the newly replanted raspberries a feed of fish, blood and bone. Now it is up to them to decide whether or not to reward all the hard work.

The bad news is that our other autumn fruiting - Autumn Gold - bed really could do with some attention. At least there is no bindweed here.
The good news is that despite my concerns that the extremely wet conditions may not suit them, all our summer fruiting raspberries have survive and sporting lots of flower buds.




22 comments:

  1. So sorry you have to deal with that bindweed. We have one here that sends roots in all directions and gets in to everything as well. I don't know the name of it---but I certainly am calling it something whilst dealing with it (and it's not ladylike!!)
    If only all our "desirables" were as vigorous!
    Good luck, Sue

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    1. I suppose we should be grateful that it doesn't have thorns as well, Sue. It is annoying isn't it that the things we want to grow often just totally fail and yet things like this are rampant.

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  2. I bet you feel as though you've really accomplished something after tackling that. I'm sure your raspberries will go on to reward you for all the hard work.

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    1. I really do, Jo. I may not get any fruit this year but as long as the newly planted pieces don't all die on me I'll be satisfied.

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  3. Your raspberries will be happier without the bindweed and your lot as well. Love that you have so many varieties.

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    1. No doubt someone will have sneaked back before too long, Brenda but least I will have given it a good clobbering.

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  4. Well, seeing your Autumn Gold bed has lifted my flagging spirits somewhat, although I still have the edge on you! Having made the executive decision to weed my entire garden thoroughly by hand this year, some things have to give and my raspberries are that thing. Everything else you have is putting me to shame!
    I confess, I have a passion for weeding out bindweed and would be sorry to be rid of it all as I find it the most therapeutic of all plants to weed. Like you, I end up with buckets full, and some of the roots have been exceptionally thick and long this year.

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    1. That isn't the only messy area, Deborah, we have two herb beds and a flowerbed that are in an equally sorry state if not even worse.
      Bizarrely I know exactly what you mean about weeding out by bindweed.

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  5. Aaargh!! My garden nemesis - you exaggerate not when you liken it to a horror film!

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    1. I was thinking back to a really really old horror film, Margaret where the plants started to strangle the house. I think that bindweed must've been the inspiration for that film.

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  6. Oh well done you, 7 buckets of bindweed roots, that's amazing. I spent the morning digging out bindweed and horsetail, although I know I haven't eradicated it. I try and keep it under control as much as I can. I have a problem with it in the asparagus bed though. I can't dig it out there because of the asparagus, so each year it's getting a bit stronger. Really frustrating. A plot neighbour who took over a very overgrown plot dug all his raspberries out and took all of the weed roots (bindweed and couch grass) out much as you have done, and his are doing nicely now.

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    1. It's always a problem keeping permanently planted beds weed free on an allotment isn't it, CJ? i'm glad to hear that your neighbours raspberries are doing well it gives me a lot of encouragement. So far ours are looking OK. It's a case of whether I will actually have enough time to deal with the All Gold bed.

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  7. The stuff of nightmares Sue along with horsetail which I've been tackling today. The raspberries will have appreciated your attention. Good luck with the battle.

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    1. Thankfully, horsetail is something that we don't have to deal with, Anna.

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  8. The flowers are so beautiful! Full of striking colours. It's like a lamp!

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  9. Like you said it's a nice flowering plant in the right place, hope all your had work keeps it under control...
    Amanda xx

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    1. So do I Amanda. I guess if I let my guard down it will be back in force.

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  10. The allotment we took on four years ago was completely riddled with bind weed.it hadn't been cultivated for some time, in the November you couldn't see it by May you could. We are still battling it today.

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    1. We have it in various places on the plot, Brian. It does tend to sneak up on you by busily working underground.

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  11. I must say I love/hate bindweed. It is a lovely plant but so invasive, it was the first plant I ever painted, I was eleven at the time so still look at the flowers with that young artists eye.xxx

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    1. I know what you mean, Dina - lovely on the right place.

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