From radio interviews to ground elder

Yesterday afternoon, I got a call from a BBC radio producer asking if I would mind being interviewed for one of their programmes (it isn’t to do with gardening or use of buses etc). The upshot is that this lunchtime an attempt was made to record the interview with a phone and an iPad. Unfortunately, my technology partly failed me, so I imagine that is my fifteen minutes of fame out the window.

Never mind. The ground elder is more of a concern. I had been hopeful it had been eradicated last time I picked the roots out of the soil but I could see new leaves appearing between the green manure sown in this patch.

The green manure was going to be dug in, anyway, in preparation for planting this season’s garlic, so it was no great loss to turn the soil. Of course, this is hardly a no-dig area of the garden but until I am sure the ground elder has gone, I think perennial plants are best avoided.

In the event, a lot more ground elder roots came out of the soil and I think I should go through it once again before the garlic goes in. I had to remove a few strawberry plants and their runners, which is a shame, but it’s more of a shame that I felt they should go in the municipal waste rather than my compost. No point in risking any further contamination, though.

The Jerusalem artichokes are another eager plant that needs to be tamed. Now it has rained but still mild, it has flowered, which is a pleasure to see, at the same time. And maybe there are still a few insects that will benefit from their pollen and nectar.

The runner beans have also had a spurt recently. I’m not sure the pods are detectable in the photo below. There aren’t many but they will be enjoyed in a meal soon.

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About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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9 Responses to From radio interviews to ground elder

  1. We had success in Newark with an older type of marigold that helped disperse the ground elder. Unfortunately I can’t remember what it was. I once took part in a radio discussion. Just as we came on air I knocked my coffee across the desk.

    • Helen says:

      So you were in the studio? I hope the coffee didn’t cause too much disruption!

      If the ground elder is still there next spring I will look into tagetes (I think they might be the type of marigold that suck the life out of other stuff.)

      • Fortunately there were two of us in the studio. The other man saved the day until I had recovered from my discombobulation. My experience with ground elder was that the slightest bit of root overlooked would continue to proliferate.

        • Helen says:

          Yes, I think ground elder is very good at regenerating from its roots – like dandelions, only spreading and greedy.

          I’m glad you were rescued from an embarrassment. I was amazed that in 2018 there weren’t more sophisticated means of recording someone on a mobile phone. However, I think the situation has given the producers insights which mean a greater chance of success in the future.

  2. Helen, I have variegated ground elder which I originally planted, I was a new gardener, anyway I leave it as ground cover in a few places but where I do not want it, after digging out as much as I found, any shoots that raise their head to ground level get removed and it has now almost gone, this was the second year of doing this and I had very little after the initial spring flush, the leaves are said to be edible, like spinach, though I have never tried it, Frances

    • Helen says:

      Hi Frances, I did actually take a nibble of the ground elder and it tasted fine. It was introduced into the garden when I got some wild garlic from a friend and originally I’d thought about keeping it in order to eat. However, I noticed how it sucked the life out of the strawberries and I don’t want it doing the same to the nearby apple tree. It’s good to hear you’ve had success with topping it.

  3. Clare Pooley says:

    Hi Helen, I’m sorry you didn’t have much luck in your interview. I tried Tagates minuta at a former house where ground elder was everywhere. It certainly weakened the plant but I found the surest way was to keep digging it out as soon as I saw any sign of it. We did eventually get rid of it all. We have it in this garden too but it is mainly in the grass and down the ditch so we just keep mowing it! I think tagates is also meant to be good at eradicating couch grass and other perennial weeds.

    • Helen says:

      Thanks for your feedback, Clare. I’m disappointed with myself for introducing it to the garden – I’ve always been so careful about not taking soil from anywhere in case of contamination. Oh well, if I can’t get rid of it, at least I should be able to keep it under control.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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