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Photo Article from the Greek Hovel - I am back poisoning the frigana

Tom Winnifrith
Sunday 8 August 2021

Long-time readers of this website will be well aware of what is now an eight-year battle with frigana here at the Greek Hovel. In 2014, I cleared more than 2,000 square metres of this awful plant, a bit like holly, which can grow from an inch to become a 20-foot tree. Since then, I have battled it with the strimmer and with poison.

I should say that the Albanians brought in by my friend Nicho the Communist have done a superb job of clearing the terraces here as you can see in the first photo. Though I still wear heavy boots and long trousers in the snake fields, I do actually feel almost safe. You can see where you are going and what is ahead of you. If a snake hears me, I’d hope it would escape in a very visible way allowing me to run screaming in the opposite direction. Actually, on Sunday, I was so relaxed I wore shorts. But I shall not tempt fate and be so brave again.

There is still the odd bush here and there as you can see below. And also lots of small plants an inch or two high. Leave these vile plants untouched and they will soon grow to be a real menace. And thus I invested in a 5-litre container of poison which I mix at 1 measure of poisonous liquid for nine of water and then lug it around the fields creating pressure with a manual lever and spraying away.

I managed two sessions on Sunday before retiring to the hovel a sweaty wreck. Three more today will more or less finish the job. Or at least, as long as it does not rain for two days which seems a bit of a nailed down cert, it should have the accursed frigana held at bay and in many places retreating. Post the olive harvest nearer Christmas I shall, with the snakes in hibernation, look to finish the job.

I shall not see the fruits of my labour till the harvest for the poison takes two weeks or more to kill the plants completely. But by the time I depart in eight days, leaves that were a shiny green will be turning to a dull green and starting to brown. It will be obvious that 2021 is a good year for the Allies in seemingly endless battle against our enemy.    

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
[email protected]
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