On our little homestead, we have weeds that are shooting up everywhere. Though what some might call weeds I like to call missed opportunity. We have several volunteer plants that have shot up in our yard. Anyplace there is a bit of excess water seeping into the ground you might find anything from a dandelion to thistle. I have yet to identify a couple of these culprits, but I am not too worried about getting rid of weeds.
So you might ask why I am not concerned about getting rid of the weeds. Well there are a couple of schools of thought. The first I want to share involves allowing nature to tend to itself even if I might not completely agree with placement and plant selection.
Think of weeds as a game of strategy, where each time I place something in the ground I take that space from nature providing something there. Now if I have done my homework and have carefully selected a plant that will prosper in that soil type with that specific amount of daily sun then it is hard for nature to replace my choice. However understanding the way things grow in nature we need to look a little deeper than just hourly sunlight and soil composition.
Nature is on a course to recover the landscape, so in addition to soil composition and hours of sun, I need to select plants from all layers of the forest system. This will in turn consume the space that nature would otherwise populate with a weed.
In a common game of chess we can look at each piece in reference to the layers of the forest. Each piece has a specific role that gives it a specific advantage over other pieces, in turn it also has some disadvantages and has to adjust to the changing landscape. If it cannot evolve or overcome those obstacles, then it simply perishes. AND Sometime those plants occupying a specific layer just simply perish as is true in a game of chess. Perhaps they sacrifice themselves for something else to come along in the future or perhaps the environment changes were so subtle that they just weren’t flourishing in that space.
In understanding the layers of the forest, we need to examine each of the micro-climates presented, and each layer could hold countless micro-climates. It is not my intent to turn this into a lecture about the forest system, only that by understanding how nature works we can simply select plants that will fill the holes in the forest layers and suppress nature from volunteering something less desirable into our growing spaces.
Each problem can present several solutions within, we just need to start tuning our senses to understanding what nature’s intent is and then help to bring about the same results.
In my area I am challenged with dry soil laden with clay. I am constantly finding nitrogen-fixing weeds, such as thistle, dandelion, and what some call “weeds”. I could take the stance to counteract this and start a campaign against the weeds and pull, cut, pulverize every weed that pops through the soil, but then I would in the end have to provide what nature is trying to correct on itself. Which in this case is a more nitrogen enriched soil for which other things would be able to thrive.
Much like a small wound to the body, nature is trying to heal itself, so if we take a little time and try to see what it is doing we might better understand how to solve the problem and bring harmony back to nature and your growing spaces.
Wow this sounds pretty deep, so let me back down and explain that I am not an expert, nor do I despise weeds like so many others, and if we can give nature the opportunity to correct itself we are often rewarded with very fertile results.
So let me ask you to stop spraying the weeds with chemicals as this only escalates the problem, and contaminates more that we may be aware. Take a moment to understand the problem and then seek the solution. It might take several attempts and some failures, but the understanding you will gain is your greatest reward.