Well, about bloody time and all…

By | May 27, 2008

Flavin FINALLY resigns. I can’t wait to read Shane Ross on Sunday.

In other news I have now finished Series 1 of BSG. Smashing stuff. I could’ve gone straight into Series 2 but its such a pleasure, why binge? I will extend the thrill……

Also, who would’ve thought we’d be so glad to see some rain? The weather has been RIDICULOUSLY cold. That north-east wind has had me fretting for the survival of my seedlings. So far though, I should report that the transplanted lettuces appear perky. I might try the spinach at the weekend.

The nettle/thistle situation is creating a severe crisis of conscience. Surely one HAS to spray? IF we defeat them then we restore the other plants in a couple of years when we are nettle free? Betty says the trick is targetting the spray. Close to the ground, only in affected areas and when there is no wind. I can’t help admiring the ditch that she spent at least 5 years spraying and finally defeated the wretched weeds. Now there is lovely long grass and the buttercups are bountiful. I think I’ll ring some expert. I refuse to believe we are required to indulge thistles in the name of the environment. Advice welcome.

17 thoughts on “Well, about bloody time and all…

  1. Johnny K

    Spraying is just evil, so no matter how well targeted it is, it’s still evil.

    Not sure about thistles, but if you cut the nettles, and spray them with a water/salt/vinegar combo it does the trick. This still isn’t great for the soil, but better than the uber chemical ones.

    Another option is if you can get your hands on old carpet. Cut the weeds then cover the area with the carpet. They’ll die quickly that way but procuring the carpet is another issue. A more bountiful covering would be silage wrap but it’s plastic and doesn’t decompose etc. But if you are careful with it you can reuse a few times.

  2. Pete

    Instead of spraying (and accepting collateral damage to surrounding plants), I use a childs paintbrush to paint Roundup directly onto the leaves of weeds. Labour intensive, but works well.

  3. Dan Sullivan

    Sarah, you have plenty of time with BSG as the last series breaks up this week for 4/5 months which will drive people nuts while they have to wait.

  4. Sarah Post author

    I’m rationing myself to one episode a night – that’s about 40 mins. A harmless way to wind down of an evening I think?

    I have lots of extra carpet at my disposal. I will try it.

    But I confess – I find the thistle digging therapeutic ( once I shake off the self-doubt) but the carpet trick might be good for the nettles. But won’t they just grow back next year?

  5. Anna

    What’s BSG? I have recently gone cold turkey on my Eastenders habit.

  6. Johnny K

    There’s a corn thingy, corn meal or something like that, which prevents seeds from germinating so it means you won’t have any seeds growing there. So when you have the plants you want in the area, you can start spreading this stuff on it and new seeds won’t germinate but your existing plants will be fine. Not sure where you get this stuff, but I read it somewhere.

  7. Sarah Post author

    Battlestar Galactica.

    Great series. The survival of humanity is at stake, a background against which themes of faith, democracy, civil vs military power, suspicion, identity, loyalty and treachery are explored. I highly recommend.

  8. Gordon

    Sounds like the Mahon Tribunal!


  9. graham

    Why the hatred for the thistles and nettles?

    The carpet will work well for the nettles, if you must destroy them. You’ll need to leave it covering the affected area for a year at the very least. That will stop any regrowth of the majority of them. You might get the odd one after that, but thats easy to manage.

    Thistles can just be dug up, it’s the most effective way, then cover with carpet. That way, any rhizomes you leave behind might produce new shoots, but they won’t get any light and will exhaust the food stores in their roots, killing them off for good.

    BUT…before you go killing them all. Nettles are extremely important. They are one of the preferred breeding grounds of ladybirds. And ladybirds are one of the gardeners best friends (they gobble up the greenflies). The thistle is a beautiful plant (a relative of artichokes) and you can cut them just as they are flowering and hang them somewhere cool and dry to dry out. They look great in a bunch (take most of the leaves off, just leave the flower heads) as a long lasting dried flower arrangement.


  10. Johnny K

    @graham, I’m with you 100% man, but most people live in a weeds v plants world and I try to promote anything other than weed killer. I only cut half of our lawn, the rest is like a meadow, with a 2′ tall sea of buttercups, and a dandelion and daisy carpet. It’s a lovely sight, in stark contrast to the majority of manicured lawns.

  11. Sarah Post author

    But Johnny, do you have piles of nettles and thistles? We are trying to do the same thing. We planted trees (all Irish native!) and left this huge area to be a meadow but the weeds have taken over and our flowers are barely peeking out. The thistles in particular are a pain. (I think they must’ve been in the top soil we brought in cos we sowed special meadow grass).
    The uncle was explaining to me the importance of nettles under the white thorn hedge so the birds have easy feeding from their nests. I can live with SOME but they do take over and destroy the place. They sting!!!!
    I want a meadow like the one Laura runs through in the opening sequence of Little House on the Prairie. I don’t want one that’s got Lord of the Rings style sinister nasty plants. :-)
    Sigh, I need to get the hang of posting photos. I could to a meadow diary.

  12. graham

    I love the idea of a meadow diary Sarah, surely posting photos isn’t so difficult.

    The ‘special meadow grass’ sounds like a great marketing ploy to appeal to those with a very artificial view of meadows. The meadow in little house on the prairie, remember, is a meadow in the USA, just as the alpine meadows in the sound of music are appropriate for that region. You say you planted Irish native trees, which is great, but remember, thistles and nettles are an important native species which fulfill a vital function in the health of any truly natural Irish landscape. They are part of the wider ecosystem (stress on the system!!).
    I understand the desire to have something which is pretty and inviting and full of wildflowers that aren’t trying to sting or hurt, but things do take time. Many of the wildflowers you would expect to find in a truly wild Irish meadow are small and inconspicuous. They are often delicate, which is why they like to grow amonst the protection of long grasses, out of easy sight of the common herbivores. Stinging nettles are more conspicuous because they can afford to be.
    My advice, put on a thick pair of gloves and a couple of layers of long sleeves and pull lots of the nettles up. Then use them as a mulch around your young veg to keep the rabbits away (the nettles can still sting until they dry out for a week or so). Not only will they protect young seedlings, they’ll nourish them as they decompose too.
    The thistles are a pain, I know, but the best way to deal with them is to just keep pulling them up from the areas you don’t want them in. There is limited energy stored in the roots. You should be able to reduce their numbers in a year or two, just make sure you cut the flowers off the remaining ones before they go to seed.

    Oh, one final thing. I would be of the opinion that you cannot create a meadow anyway. You can allow a patch of ground to return to meadow (helping it along the way by removing the invasive alien species that often tries to take a hold) but it takes time and patience. Sometimes you have to just allow nature to do it’s thing.

  13. Sarah Post author

    Woah, see, I keep thinking my readers a pale-faced geeky types, and then you all come along with this amazing nature advice.

    OK, I am persuaded:

    1. Dig thistles
    2. Pull nettles
    3. Adopt intervention only at crisis moments approach.
    4. Get onto to blog hero Gavin and find out about posting photos. I could show my seedling progress too!!!

  14. Pete

    >I keep thinking my readers a pale-faced geeky types

    Erm, you’re the one who has a blog and watches Sci-Fi on TV.

  15. The Crewser

    Blog “hero” or purveyor of censorship, thats our Gavin

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