Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Eight Reasons to Think Twice Before Pulling Your Weeds

Copyright 2010, Harvest McCampbell

1. The weed roots form beneficial relationships with the microorganisms in the soil, and in relationship with these roots they flourish and propagate--as the plants you are intentionally growing get larger and you reduce the weed population, the microorganisms will partner with your crop plants and increase their ability to uptake nutrients.

2. Weeds scavenge water soluble nutrients and prevent them from leaching from the soil and polluting our ground water and streams, rivers, and lakes. As the plants you are intentionally growing get larger and you clip or pull the weeds and add them to the compost or your mulch, you have saved those nutrients in a slow release organic from that increases soil life and nutrient cycling.

3. Nutrient cycling microorganisms need protection from sunlight, weed leaves are great parasols.

4. Healthy soil life does not thrive on compaction. Weed leaves soften the blows of rain and irrigation, and the weed roots, when pulled gently - a very few at a time-- lift and aerate the soil. The roots that remain in the soil; will either grow new weeds prolonging their benefits, or they will decay, leaving behind humus and space for oxygen and for soil microorganisms to flourish.

5. Most weeds are edible and far more nutritious than anything we are trying to grow on purpose.

6. Many weeds provide habitat and food for beneficial creatures that will help control pests in the garden.

7. Weeds produce oxygen, which is currently in decline in our atmosphere--primarily because of human activity. See my article on Carbon Production = Oxygen Consumption (PS Oxygen Supplies are Limited):

8. Denuding the soil leads to erosion, nutrient loss, heat gain, water runoff, and much more. This is true on both micro and macro levels. To change how we think in the world, we must first change how we think in the garden. On the macro level denuding the soil of plant life (or even reducing plant life) leads to dust and sand storms, desertification, deforestation, massive top soil loss, and flooding. This in turn leads to destruction of the life in water ways and our oceans. Laying bare the soil may be our undoing.

Weeds are not the enemy. They are nature’s way of healing a damaged micro and macro environments. We can learn to work with them to the betterment of our gardens and our nutrient cycles.

For a little more information on my work, please see my info on facebook, and my website:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

VERY interesting, sez he, who in the past was religiously weeding his squash, cucumber, tomato, broccoli, carrot etc garden .... taa oliwni kaa qe'ciyéw'yew