18 April 2012

Scientific Thoughts on Weeds

Our cat gets tripped over every day, or stepped on. It's actually her fault: she plots your course and runs across it, just to get your attention, just to get some food I guess. As an endearment tactic it backfires every time. Weeds do exactly the same thing: they figure out where you are going to plant the dahlias you have been nurturing all winter and they make sure to spring up very very close, from right underneath. Ground elder and bindweed are very sneaky like that.

Perhaps my scientific friend Peter will explain why weeds, like some cats, have been programmed to irritate when really they should be thinking about ways to be loved. And also, wouldn't it be more sensible to keep out of the danger zone altogether?

First things first: plants do NOT think. 'Weeds put themselves under your plants because they were there first,' Peter informs me. 'Weed seeds can remain dormant for scores of years if not hundreds. You only need to think of the poppy fields at Flanders... You disturb the soil when you put a plant in, or when you sow or hoe, ' he continues in his theoretical way. 'The more disturbance, the more weeds.'

There is gardening by the book and gardening by the whatever-whim-takes-you but Peter's version is highly organised. 'Good gardeners hoe for the first and last fifteen minutes of every gardening session.' How sensible they are and I suppose they mulch beautifully? 'If you hoe regularly, when you can't see any weeds, this creates a mulch of the tilth of soil, and you can keep the first inch or so weed free.' All mulch of course works as a weed suppressant, as well as being an all round good egg, whether it is the chic wood bark variety or old grass. Now, I just need some ideas for a good cat suppressant.
The fresh greens of ground elder insinuating themselves amongst ligularia.

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