For some time I have been watching the two rows of Peas and French Beans growing under netting and trying to find time to weed them. I finally got round to doing it and discovered why it is easier to keep on top of the weeding!
Unfortunately I did not net the Peas (Sugar Snap) when the first came through. There were lots of seedlings (I sow 2 packets into the 10' row) but the pigeons had a field day before I covered them. Never-the-less I left them to grow on - and didn't weed them. Big mistake!
It takes hours when the weeds are nearly a foot high.
I start by hoeing between the rows as close as I can to the plants without cutting them off as well. Then I continue by pulling the nettles and other tall weeds that I can recognise. That saves me getting stung every time I bend down over them.
Now I have only to sort out the Swiss and Rhubarb Chard from the weeds!
Fortunately I started that task in good humour as I had just planted out my Melons under a polythene tunnel cloche. As always I am a tad late but I hope to have some grapefruit size melons to enjoy in September as last year. Having dealt with this patch of weeds I sowed another row of peas, Douce Provence, alongside the French Beans - and netted them straight away!
My Ambassador peas on the other side of my plot have grown well and are nearly ready for harvesting so will benefit from being watered. The row will get at least one whole watering can of 15 litres poured along the roots whenever I get the chance. It is not worth giving them less or spraying them unless I am prepared to visit daily and even then I would risk getting the leaves sunburnt and making the plants vulnerable to drying out as they would have developed roots very close to the surface to take up the sprayed water.
I only water very occasionally between sowing and harvest when conditions get very dry. That way the roots have gone down deep searching for the damp soil. Then when I do water I try to really soak the rows. I will have sown/planted almost everything in a shallow trench so the water goes where it is needed and doesn't just run over the surface and away.
I am following the advice of our President, Hugh Merret, who manages his plot very productively with very little water - almost all from his own water butts.