Saturday, 25 March 2017

Come on, baby, light my fire

There is increasing resistance in France to the routine use of weedkiller products like glyphosate, with ideas like a complete ban from 2020 being mooted.  One of the advantages of weedkilling chemicals in general is that they're cheap and easy to use.  You can get enough for some 500 square yards, that kills the weeds and stops seeds from sprouting, in a single spraying that lasts for a whole growing season, for about €20.

In the light of the debate, various other techniques are being tried out.   I have seen council workers and plant nursery owners clearing weeds from gravel paths and raised beds with a steamer.  The steam kills the plant above the ground, and hopefully, the heat is enough to kill a proportion of the roots and seeds in the ground.  Uses quite a lot of energy, although I don't know how it might compare with the production, transport and sale of glyphosate.

As an alternative, you could use this compact gas burner.   To you, squire, and I'm cutting me own throat, a mere €1,490.  Seems a bit expensive to me; you can buy a very nice lawn mower with a complicated, 4-stroke internal combustion engine for a couple of hundred euro, and this burner looks very simple by comparison.

It has a line of burners mounted on a metal frame, plus a shelf on which you can fix a big bottle of gas (not included in the price).  You fire it up, and walk slowly along while it burns the weeds and roasts their seeds.

It even has a little shelf on the back for the fire extinguisher, in case of unfortunate events.  Handy that.


pete said...

we've got an allotment in middle England - we don't see weeds as any sort of problem - they just take a little time to pull or hoe.. regularly :-) - we leave many for the bees and prettiness - and - (I can't get over this one) we have just four red currant bushes which give us 40 pounds of fruit each year - supermarket price would be £1800!!

ps. we also garden commercially where we do use weedkiller... but only on block paving

Mark In Mayenne said...

Hi Pete, I have some large areas of boars gravel here, that need to be kept free of grass and other weeds. All the flower beds and veg areas are weeded by hand.

You redcurrants seem to be doing better than my blackcurrants....

James Higham said...


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