Some gardening books talk about weeds as alien invaders, noxious and unsightly. The only good weed is a dead weed, they huff.
Remember though that weeds do not drive out plants or turf, they merely come in and fill the gap where there are bare patches.
In fact weeds can be an indication of poor soil, which means weeds are a symptom of our problems and not causes of our problems.
Sometimes if you change your soil, you'll fix a bad weed problem.
Your soil . . .
- may be too alkaline,
- too acid,
- too compacted,
- too dry or too wet,
- or too poor
. . . to support a patch of veggies or decent lawn, thus bare patches result and in come the opportunistic relevant weeds.
Spraying weeds is putting the cart before the horse, because many other weeds can lay dormant for years until such time as, for example...
In fact if you have a patch of land that you are at war with the weeds--good husbandry dictates that you grow a fallow crop of so called weeds; return the crop before flowering to the land in the way of mulch, compost or lightly hoed in, and you will restore a good balance of soil organisms and soil nutrients.
Other recorded soil improvers and companion planting successes are:
You can see it makes sense to know one’s enemies (in this case weeds), and gain from them if you can.
Where you DON'T want weeds are mainly during spring sowing and planting, before the soil is covered by your veggies. Germinating weeds must be kept in check, so they don’t smother your plant babies or take out too much goodness from the soil.
A bit of hoeing and a bit of hand picking won’t go amiss sometimes. Grasses, which often follow weeds are a no no, they feed in the same rooting layers of many veggies, can’t be eaten, so they are unwelcome competitors.
Don’t get hysterical and spray willynilly. Only use the organic weed control methods in hard to get places, such as drives, paths, walls etc.
Enjoy your weeds; eat the edibles... most can be eaten raw, some must be cooked and some have only parts that are edible. It’s important to identify each plant before eating, otherwise that pretty plant might just be hemlock... and you may well be the subject of a murder mystery book!
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