Allotment Stuff > The Basics

Mare's Tail

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I took over a plot on a site once that nobody wanted because of the mares tail. A deep dig over removing all the bits of black root I could find, then as suggested by other posters hoe, hoe, hoe. I grew plenty of stuff on the plot. Can be a nuisance in amongst a row of seedlings but plan your thinning right and you will be ok. I don't think mares tail takes a lot from the soil all it does is look untidy. It would not worry me now, but whatever you do DON'T ROTAVATE.

Fortunately never been stressed by the plant, just a matter of luck. Its got its uses,

I have to laugh at the comment that just do a deep dig all over the plot and that gets rid of the Mares Tail.  A deep dig over a standard plot would involve going through 150 cubic metres of soil, getting on for 300 tonnes!.  Of course the experienced allotmenteers on this forum would only take a couple of hours to dig 300 tonnes of soil but for newbies it would take perhaps a lifetime or a bit longer.

You have to treat it like you would if you had an elephant to eat.  One bite at a time till it's done!

Digging over beds as you need them and covering the ones you can't get to or don't yet need will get you thru it in do-able chunks.   I had mare's tail in parts of my last garden where the soil was imported, neutral clay.   I just hoed, dug, pulled as appropriate.   

You can make a very good fungicide and rust treatment by soaking mares' tail in a bucket of water for a few weeks (needs a lid) and then strain and dilute 10 parts water to 1 part liquid.   If you use weedkiller, don't make tea, obviously, but do add a bit of washing up liquid to the mix to help it stick and break or crush the stems to help absorption as they contain a lot of silica and can be a bit impervious.   Used to be used as pan scrubs.

Doing the same now in this new garden where the 25 x 29m veg plot is riddled with bindweed.   Clear it one new bed at a time and then keep it hoed.   We leave the roots and shoots out in the sun to dry out completely before they go anywhere near a compost heap.

Being a gravedigger for a number of years when I was younger, deep digging was my speciality. :tongue3: It didn't take long to turn a plot over with the right tools, not a silly little garden spade, a nice big heavy builders shovel worked a treat for me. Getting on a bit now so piddly little tools are the norm. But it keeps me fit.


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