Look what we didn’t want to find

Horse Tail weed

If you look very carefully, it looks as if the spinach is flowering. Oh no it’s not – that’s the dreaded horse tail weed appearing. It possibly came in with some compost we have been using to improve the beds. And no it’s not mares tail – that’s the cousin that grows in wet places, bogs, by water and ponds. It may have been wet at the Go Local Fields, but it hasn’t been that wet. That’s a weed best not to compost as the seeds will multiply in our compost heap and we shall then have a bigger problem.

1 thought on “Look what we didn’t want to find

  1. The horse tail was already present when we took over the land, it was this and the generous cover of comfrey that persuaded our landlady to rent the land to us. It is a very pernicious weed, spreading from the smallest piece as well as releasing spores with legs. As the moisture of the environment changes the legs appear to walk! Control is by light exclusion, quarantine the area, cover with cardboard and leave for an entire season. We also use biodegradable plastic as well as mypex a woven polyester to suppress it whilst growing alongside it. Cultivation is not recommended, except for the single pass of a hoe at 15-20cm beneath the ground. A “hori hori” knife or similar can also be used to cut the root at this depth.
    The compost used for to improve the beds is a PAS 100 approved compost, the process used should reach sufficient temperature for enough time to kill most weeds. This is made from recycled vegetable waste collected at the doorstep in the Tyne valley and adjacent areas. This has been extremely effective in reducing the weed burden.
    We are currently discussing how we could make compost more effectively at the farm and hope to bid for funding and introduce some new approaches in the next year.

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