Bindweed in the vegetable plot

Question ...

Do you have any suggestions for dealing with a bindweed- infested section of my vegetable patch? It is approximately 12ft x 15ft, and has been used for growing raspberries for a long time. Since moving here 3 years ago, I have dug every winter, to no avail, as every forkful of soil still looks like spaghetti in brown sauce.

I put a cardboard mulch over the outer sections - but the cardboard rotted, and the bindweed thrived. I have now started new raspberry rows elsewhere in clean soil, washing the roots before replanting. I really need to use this area this next year, can you help please?.

Answer ...

Although bindweed can appear to be uncontrollable, it is not too difficult to deal with. This is a plant that hates disturbance. It will grow where the soil is never cultivated. You find it in neglected areas, such as behind the shed, or under permanent plants, such as your raspberries.

Now you've moved the canes, you can really attack the area and clear out every scrap of root. You'll miss some bits of course, but don't worry. Each time you see a new sprout appearing, dig or pull it out, or hoe it off. Use the area for growing vegetables as usual. This will mean that regular cultivation will take place - just what bindweed hates. You'll find that in a season or two there is nothing coming through. Just keep pulling it out and never let shoots grow. If bindweed is growing through grassy paths, these also need to be dug over.

Don't waste the roots - they contain valuable nutrients. Place everything, top growth and roots - into a black plastic bin-bag. Leave in a sunny corner until only mush remains, add this to your compost heap. All the minerals, which had been absorbed by the bindweed, will be returned to the soil via the compost heap.

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