Thursday 16 November 2023

Weeds.

 

I read Weeds by John Walker yesterday. A friend of my wife gave me some books that belonged to her late husband and I will review them when I read each one over these dark nights and wet none gardening days, except for the polytunnel of course.  

I found the book very informative and it's a good way of knowing what is growing in your soil.  He suggests you make a bare soil area in your garden and see what grows there.  Even overgrown allotments were once cultivated bare soil.

For example if you have sheep sorrel growing in your grass it means the ground is very acidic.

Buttercups are a sign of very wet soil often found in pastures.  There is a weed grass called Yorkshire Fog.  It's  a pale and fat bladed grass found in lawns.  I know that from when I worked on a golf course and I can identify many kinds of weeds.

The author like myself doesn't use weedkillers and recommends hand weeding, sheet mulching composting weeds especially nettles which will add fertility to your ground.  

He also like my self when I visited Dorset noticed fields of cereal growing in land sprayed with pesticides and herbicides are devoid of wildlife in the middle unlike the untouched hedgerows which are habitat s of birds, butterflies and insects and also how bird numbers have dropped so rapidly due the weedkillers and pesticides no longer providing food for living creatures like birds.

There is a section about Japanese Knotweed and whilst it is invasive and destructive to buildings it is also a great habitat for mammals and insects like nettles are for Butterflies.

It's what I would call a browse and dip in book like a lot of gardening books are.  I enjoyed reading the book and I would recommend it to anyone wants to know what grows in their soil and doesn't want to use chemicals to kill them.  It was published in 2003.

A good earth and nature friendly book.  


12 comments:

  1. A perfect book for those with green fingers. Unfortunately I don't even know what most of my weeds are. Most of them pop up in winter and as long as they are green they can stay. They're a nice change from the dry brown of summer

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes Linda. My kind of book. We have forgotten so many of our wild flowers or weeds names and their uses. Never thought of wild overgrown areas and Japanese Knotweed being a great natural habitat for voles, insects and mice.. Nettles in particular are very useful and beneficial for insects, us and " Where nettles grow anything grows" is a old country saying. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The title "Weeds" made me think it would either be about Tory backbenchers or Weeds United - the football team

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bill and Ben and "Weed" at number 10 would do a better job than those pernicious Tories YP.

      Delete
    2. What does "pernicious" mean? Would I be right in assuming it means incompetent?

      Delete
    3. Destructive perennial weeds that turn up every year like a bad penny or a Tory YP.

      Delete
  4. I remember hand weeding in my two previous homes, out on the grass on my knees with a small weeding tool and a bucket. When I moved here I began the same routine and it was lovey being out there in the sun with Reggae music coming from the Jamaicans in the flat across the driveway. Then they moved on and we had a drought so the lawns didn't get watered, the soil shrunk, it's a mess now. The maintenance men come around once a month and scalp it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have hand weeded golf greens and lawns on my knees with a knife or screwdriver and a bucket River. It must have been really relaxing gardening and listening to the Reggae music?

      Delete
    2. It was fun, their friends would come around each weekend and they would barbecue on the tiny balcony, there was much laughter and singing.

      Delete
    3. Sounds like a great time was had by all.

      Delete
  5. Thanks for the recommendation - I really must get that book. Somethings gardeners like you (an possibly me) already know some stuff like what your weeds tell you about the soil. My Dad had a deep knowledge of that kind of thing, mostly built on observation and it never really came out unless something in a conversation triggered it. Throwaway comments sometimes. I wish I had known how to explore all the recesses of that body of knowledge before it was lost to us.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks Tigger's Mum. I find wild flower and weed identification interesting Tigger's Mum. Just observing what grows in our gardens and allotments help understand the soil fertility and what's beneficial like nettles and not like couch grass and other pernicious perennial weeds. I understand what you mean about your Dad having all that knowledge but it was never written down. It makes me wish I still had an allotment to talk to the older folk and for the vegetables growing camaraderie.

    ReplyDelete

Seconds Out. Round Two.

 I beat the cats 4 2 last night.  But something had been digging in 2 of the parsnips and carrots 🥕 barrels. Thanks for you comments and ad...