Weeding - 12 July 1858

It's backbreaking work, is weeding. One of those jobs to do in between hay-making and wheat harvest, in the slack times. Not something the farmhands like.  But it's got to be done.

It's all right for you lot, with your fancy-dancy chemical herbicides. A nice wash of glyphosate, and a field of genetically-improved sweetcorn, and Bob's your uncle Blackadders' secret cross-dressing lover. But back here, it's mostly manual effort.  And when you're looking at whole farms, that's massive. Even in these days when steam threshing machines and what have you have driven many to the big cities to find work. I tell you, sometimes Hnaef comes in exhausted after supervising all that weeding.

And I'm busy banning the pesticides as well. I mean, when you consider that nicotine, strychnine, sulphur and cyanide were all in use in the kitchen garden... I'm sorry, if you're an Organics fan.  I personally consider that companion planting is as much use in a garden as hopping on one leg and singing a lucky song, if you want to keep your veg in good shape. But a perfect lettuce is bought at too great a price if that price is a gardener dead before his time.

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