Of course no pesticides are used in organic agriculture and horticulture. But how am I going to get rid of invasive weeds on the lavender farm?
New innovative methods to get rid of invasive weeds
Wherever the law stipulates that pesticides may no longer be used, new innovative methods are created to remove weeds ecological. You can use use machines, that attack the weeds to the root with hot steam or hot water. Weeding itself, with the hoe or with hot water, is not necessarily an annoying job, but it is when we are talking about a large area and a very invasive weed.
No weed as persistent as bindweed
No weed grow so fast and is as persistent as bindweed I think. The plant speads with an extensive root branch that can go up to 10 meters deep. And each individual plant slums up through the stem of the lavender. My land unfortunately has a lot of bindweed.
Deep plowing and leaving the ground bare is a method used here. I suspect that the plant will only be multiplied. In addition to that it is bad for biodiversity and can lead to erosion.
Wherever there is water, the bindweed appears. I am quite sure that the seeds come in through the irrigation channels (asequias) here in the Alpujarras.
Picking flowers to prevent them spreading seeds
Bindweed blooms in summer immediately after watering. I pick those flowers on my land where possible, to prevent them spreading even more seeds. And leave not even one dead plant on my land because the seeds will still ripen. I think.
Fortunately, newly sprouted seeds can easily be eliminated with weeding. The deep root system is another story. That doesn’t get exhausted. Also steam or boiling water does not get that deep.
Where other plants die because of pesticides, bindweed simply returns and now with no competition
Neighbors spray pesticides. That seems like an option in the short term, but in the long term it’s very bad. Where other plants do die, bindweed simply returns. And then you just killed the competition.
Mulching the soil, so covering it with compost or straw, is also not a solution. Precisely from underneath the mulch they come out even harder than elsewhere.
So I came up with black agricultural plastic
Black plastic is a permitted method in organic agriculture and horticulture. The black plastic warms up the soil and weeds die because there is no photosynthesis without light.
Doing nothing makes the problem bigger and bigger
Plastic contributes to climate change and plastics in the sea are a disaster. See my blog about plastic. It’s not easy to do everything well. But doing nothing or waiting longer is not an option, because the root system grows at lightning speed.
So I went looking for plastic that had already been recycled and can be recycled again. After 1 month all weeds under the plastic were dead, except for the bindweed and another stubborn specie. Where I planted my first 40 lavender plants the plastic was only there for two months, but that was clearly too short. I still have to weed every day.
5 months later all bindweed is dead
Now 5 months later all bindweed under the plastic is dead. I am very curious if they will reappear when the circumstances improve. So when sunlight and water comes in again. I’m going to try that soon. Am I able to plant more lavenders in autumn or should I wait longer? Fingers crossed!