Report R016 ****

Problem: Creeping thistle in previously rotavated land
Where: Audley End Kitchen Garden
When: Late May 2003 (40 man-hours)
Status: Organic - HDRA
Area: approx. 0.60 hectares (1.5 acres)
Detail. 2 man workforce chiseling & raking. Phenomenal growth from chopped sections. Docks also removed from flower & vegetable borders

Problem: the re-constitution of approx. 1 acre of the lower kitchen garden from wilderness, by initially putting it down to grass. Creeping thistle was growing profusely.

The situation: Rotovated cultivations had chopped Creeping Thistle rhizomes into multitudes of viable sections. Light was ‘percolating’ through the cultivated soil, and causing phenomenal growth. It had just rained after a Spring drought.

Two men with Lazy- Dog Chisel Hoes spent two days cutting all visible plants just below the point of growth ( 1" below the ground), and then raking the debris into piles for collection. As this job was completed, shoots were appearing in the area only just cleared. Many buried sections of root were programmed to shoot & emerge from deeper down, and would soon cover the whole site again.

One option was to hand pick the bigger bstones & debris, and then carefully rotovate the top inch (or 2") of soil. With sharp clean blades (and dry weather), a controlled skimming of the surface could work. An ‘above average’ depth control on the rotovator would be needed.

Something like this took place, and grass was sown asap.

Cost: £280. + Vat.