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  • Battling against the docks

    Have just taken over a 250m2 plot in hull - completely covered in docks and grass. Some neighbours are offering chemicals - I think I want to do things organically.

    Should I strim first then start digging out roots or just start digging? Or should I hit the chemicals - just this once!
    The law will hang the man or woman
    Who steals the goose from off the common
    But lets the greater thief go loose
    Who steals the common from the goose
    http://johntygreentoes.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    Hi Johnty,

    Welcome to the vine. My first allotment was like yours. The only answer is it depends on how "green" you want to be. If you look on our website (se below) there is a beginers page on there that may be of help.

    Personally, I hit mine with round up and that saw the docks off (especially if you use a sprayer rather than a watering can) but the problems will come whenyou start to dig, you'll have a wonderfull flush of weeds from all those dormant seeds (1 years seeds = 7 years weeds - my dads old saying) so you may need to give it a second blast.

    Either way you'll need to remove the whole root as the slightest bit will resprout. Also if you have loads of docks it's a good indication of an acidic soil, so try testing the PH and then apply lime to bring it back to a neutral PH (6-7 is OK) as it can lead to problems with clubroot in brassicas and scab on tatties.

    Don't let that put you off though as it's really easy to get on top of things and you'll love it.
    ntg
    Never be afraid to try something new.
    Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark.
    A large group of professionals built the Titanic


    ==================================================

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    • #3
      Hit the chemicals !! One or two sprays with roundup or a similar glyphosate weedkiller will kill off all your perennial weeds and give you a head start.
      I know you say you wanna grow organically, but even the Soil Association recommend this to commercial growers, as a one off teatment.
      Good luck
      Rat

      British by birth
      Scottish by the Grace of God

      http://scotsburngarden.blogspot.com/
      http://davethegardener.blogspot.com/

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      • #4
        I had the same type of Allotment as you - covered in head-height (I'm short, ok) deep-rooted perennial weeds. It had been Roundupped before I got it, but you couldn't tell! 1 year on its all cultivated, hardly any weeds at all; I didn't use a single drop of chemical. I strimmed off top growth, then covered the ground with carpet until I could dig it. The roots are much easier to dig out when the plant has been 'in the dark' for a couple of months. As soon as you dig a patch, plant it with something useful, don't leave the ground bare. Good luck.
        All gardeners know better than other gardeners." -- Chinese Proverb.

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        • #5
          Thanks to you all

          I think I'll roundup as a one off - just to get things going. I've never used chemicals in my house garden, so it doesn't feel right - but when I look at acres of docks.........

          Many thanks
          The law will hang the man or woman
          Who steals the goose from off the common
          But lets the greater thief go loose
          Who steals the common from the goose
          http://johntygreentoes.blogspot.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            I had docks and brambles. Didn't use chemicals, just digging. Eighteen months on it's looking good. The roots go down forever, though and it's true what Nick says - keep looking out for seedlings. They keep popping up and you need to get them out asap

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            • #7
              Thanks for this

              I've set up a blog site to record my progress. You may wish to visit. Cheers. http://johntygreentoes.blogspot.com/
              The law will hang the man or woman
              Who steals the goose from off the common
              But lets the greater thief go loose
              Who steals the common from the goose
              http://johntygreentoes.blogspot.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for the link to the Grapevine on your blog Johnty!
                [

                Comment


                • #9
                  when we were looking for an allotment we visited two sites, one plot on offer was covered in glass (old greenhouses!) and brambles and the other on another site was covered in dock. We were chatting to an old boy who when asked for advice said that the only thing to remove dock successfully was napalm! we took the one with the glass and brambles - good luck once you have veg growing it will all be worth the effort.
                  Gardening is a way of showing that you believe in tomorrow
                  .
                  - Author Unknown

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                  • #10
                    Am I imagining that I read something that said if you make a 'tea' from dandelion/ dock or similiar and feed the plant with it ie dandelion - dandelion tea, then this will kill off the plant? Can anyone clarify this or have I got an overactive imagination?

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                    • #11
                      What an interesting idea. I'll have to explore this one. Sounds very much like the old principles of like affecting like. Will get back to you.

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                      • #12
                        It would be wonderful if it was as simple as that! They are a big problem here, and grow enormous root systems.
                        ~
                        Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know that so it goes on flying anyway.
                        ~ Mary Kay Ash

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                        • #13
                          Not sure about that one Ltp,
                          I've heard that a preparation from the root can be used as a plant food - probably based on the principle that as it has a very deep tap root, it can bring a lot of nutrients up from way down in the soil (similar to comfrey)
                          If you find out different I'd like to know too - they are spreading all over my garden - I suspect it has something to do with my daughter using the seed heads as "clocks"
                          Rat

                          British by birth
                          Scottish by the Grace of God

                          http://scotsburngarden.blogspot.com/
                          http://davethegardener.blogspot.com/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by johnty greentoes View Post
                            Have just taken over a 250m2 plot in hull - completely covered in docks and grass. Some neighbours are offering chemicals - I think I want to do things organically.

                            Should I strim first then start digging out roots or just start digging? Or should I hit the chemicals - just this once!
                            Sorry to be late on this one I WILL NOT use chems, my lottie was quite overgrown when I took it over (Sept 05) and I dug It (more than once) it worked Weeds now under control.
                            The river Trent is lovely, I know because I have walked on it for 18 years.
                            Brian Clough

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