Saturday, 5 July 2008

Saturday 5th July 08

Up quite early as at 10 I had agreed to take the children to St Nicks to do some 'Balsam Bashing' as part of the Eco-Active Days programme. They were both keen, despite the wet weather. We got there before 10 and met up with half a dozen other volunteers, all happy to pull up Himalayan Balsam and Japanese Knotweed as these are both invasive foreign species. The balsam is an annual and in winter, it leaves bare soil on the sides of watercourses, which erodes very easily. So the idea is to pull it up to allow other species to grow, which may have better root systems, which can keep the soil in situ. The knotweed is very invasive and potentially destructive, and it needs removing if at all possible, and pulling it up helps keep it under control.

So we spent an hour and a half of pulling up nettles from around newly planted trees, balsam and knotweed, piling up all the vegetation in the same place to rot down. Hwever, the rain got very heavy and a bit much for my two boys, and we three went back to the Environment Centre building. The rest of the team followed us within half an hour.

Our reward was a lovely lunch of tomato soup and bread... with good humoured company. I chatted to two new volunteers who are going to be there on Saturdays, one a physicist, the other a speech and conversation expert. Fascinating stuff!

Gill had had a quiet and pleasent morning, and was glad that we'd all enjoyed the work, lunch and each other's company.

The rain got very heavy during the afternoon, but I did some work in the garden anyway... but lit the stove to dry stuff off.


Anonymous said...

A word of warning.. Japanese Knotweed is as you say an invasive species and has to be treated with great care when disposed of, because even a tiny section of the evil stuff can root, re grow and increase rather than decrease the problem.

I would not suggest composting it in a normal home heap.. wrap it up and find out from your local council where you can take it for safe disposal.

For more information, call the Environment Agency on 08708 506 506

Compost John said...

Absolutely... this is a wonderful plant which can regrow from any fresh living material, as little as a millimetre of stem, or fragment of root, just 1 gramme in weight.
SO treat it with respect!

Always either dry it out completely to kill it and then compost it, put it in a tub of water for ages to kill it and then compost it, or shred it and hot compost it which will stop the material regenerating... and the compost will be exactly the same as any other compost, absolutely fine to use on the garden or in containers.

DO NOT put it in a cold compost heap fresh!!! It will grow!