So, my no-dig approach has generally been going well this season. The number of weeds I’ve had has definitely been improved by the method of covering each raised bed with cardboard and a thick layer of mulch prior to planting. But there is one weed that is really rather persistent… bindweed. Now, before I carry on, I want to make the observation that it is SO much less of a problem in my no-dig beds than it is in the one bed that I have been digging (and indeed the part of the plot that is yet to be converted from general undergrowth to productive veg plot, so I already feel that no-dig has made an impact and for this reason alone would highly recommend giving it a go.
In relation to the bindweed that has started to appear in the no-dig beds, I have turned to my hero, Charles Dowding (the master of no-dig) for advice and all is as I thought: The way to deal with bindweed (after the initial cardboard and mulching) is, quite simply, to use a trowel to gently lever as much of the weed root out of the ground as possible. He suggests that this may take around an hour a week during the summer months and, as far as I can understand, in year one it will feel like an ongoing battle, in year two it will feel more manageable and in year three the beds will be more or less bindweed free. I suppose good things come to those that persevere!
So, it looks as if I’m going to be spending an hour or so digging up bindweed this weekend, and for the next few weekends coming. Still, it’d be loads worse if I hadn’t gone no-dig in the first place!