Tuesday, March 7

Getting down to soil level

The pear bed on the allotment doubles as an annual flower bed. The difference from our other annual flower beds is that this one is mainly full of self sown plants.

I may shake a few dried flower heads over the surface in autumn but my role tends to involve a bit of weeding. As weed seedlings mingle amongst seedlings that I want to keep, weeding this bed necessitates a soil level approach. (Look carefully at the photo below and you may see proof that I do use a kneeler).
Some may think of this as a tedious task but personally I find it rather therapeutic. Over the years I have learned to identify most weed seedlings and be able to differentiate plant seedlings from weed seedlings.

I've circled seedlings to keep on the following photos and put squares around those that will be removed.



Often I would weed out such small seedlings gloveless but it was really muddy and so rubber gloves were used.
There were many different plants and seedlings that I wanted to keep including.
I've no idea where the crocuses came from. Some such as the poppies and tulips were planted and other plants just arrived or were annual seedlings from the generations of annuals that came before them.

Although there were sprinklings of other weeds the main unwelcome infiltrators were hairy bittercress and goosegrass/cleavers or whatever else you want to call it.
I certainly will not have removed all the weed seedlings and even if I had more would soon germinate to take their place but hopefully now the 'owners' of the bed will have a better chance of squeezing out the squatters.
I'm looking forward to seeing the bed looking like this ... and the bees are too!

Any seedlings that I don't recognise I leave as an unknown seedling can end up being a choice plants like this daphne.
Some years ago this was a small unknown seedling which I left to grow on. A very welcome gift from a resting bird. I'd like to think it was the bird's way of thanking us for all the food we provide.

Martyn posted a vlog of Saturday's plot activity here on his blog - pop across and take a look.

18 comments:

  1. We have a similar approach ~ if you don't recognise it, give it a chance! I love weeding, maybe that's why I allow so many into my garden ~lol! It is so therapeutic and I hate to wear gloves too, but needs must in the mud! As you say, the rewards of a bed full of beautiful flowers is so worth the effort.

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    1. It's something which you can fully focus on isn't' it, Deborah and put any worries aside for a few hours.

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  2. That Daphne was a real gift! I love weeding. It is therapeutic and I get loads of other stuff done as well, in my head at least. Draft emails, write blog posts..

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    1. The daphne is beautiful at the moment, Jessica.

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  3. It's always therapeutic finding self-sown seedlings. You have quite the variety there! Good to see those beds in full bloom too.xxx

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    1. I scattered some calendula seeds from some dried heads Last autumn but I didn't spot hat seedlings, Dina. Hopefully later!

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  4. I was envious to see you had cyclamen reseed...but then saw you were burdened with that hairy bittercress...such a pain in the garden only the last two years (bought soil likely brought it in). And in the last two photos..is that the winter daphne ...native in Nova Scotia..sure looks like it. Smells divine! Great photos! A bit ahead of us..ahem ahem ahem...

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    1. The cyclamen spread like weeds, Bren. The ones on the plot must have arrived in old compost moved from the garden as I haven't planted any there. I've given loads away. The daphne is Daphne mezereum it's flowering now. It does have a lovely perfume and red berries.

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  5. Wow! So welcomed weeds! It's good that you can really identify the weeds! Sometimes i poor at this task! hahaha...

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    1. Years of weeding experience, Malar.

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  6. Birds often thank us for the food we provide them - I have a bed of sunflowers, then I have to replace seedlings in other spot :-)
    You're very right, weeds grow fast and spring is very busy time for you now.

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    1. It is a busy time Nadezda. Fortunately using weed control fabric helps but there isn't any on the pear bed just to allow the self sowing.

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  7. Your flowers will look lovely in the summer, Sue. It's such a good idea to take photos throughout the year so you can remind yourself where plants are and what they will look like later. I forget sometimes what plants are growing in beds so it's good to be able to look back

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    1. We take photos of the most mundane things, Margaret - like a newly dug bed. It serves as a journal as we have a piece of software that catalogues then according to date and we can also add tags and search the catalogue for particular photos of something.

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  8. I love the double use of the bed. Just one question how do you collect your fruits without stomping all the flowers? :)

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    1. The bed isn't very wide Leanan and we can pick the fruit without standing on the bed. Also the flowers are usually over by the time the pears are ripe.

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  9. I have always been thankful for the weed recognition programme I did at Agriculture Collage many years ago. This is an element of gardening that people ignor at their cost, it is not the sexy glamorous side of gardening that you see in magazines or on TV. Delighted to see you are using a kneeler.

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    1. It is fascinating that many weeds can be recognised at almost seedling stage, Brian. As you say it saves many choice plants. I even use two kneeler, one on top of the other.

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