Friday, March 1, 2013

Weeds are Interesting Storytellers

By now you know that I don’t have a lot of weeds (it’s the soil baby) – but a weed free environment is still a dream.  Weeds happen, they can’t be avoided.

However, weeds are interesting storytellers.  When weeds occur they can tell us quite a bit about what the garden needs or has too much of.  Weeds tell us specifically what is happening in the soil.  Here are some things that weeds tell us:
  • Whether we are watering correctly - weeds occur when we over - or under - water.
  • If we've planted too closely together or left too much space between plants.
  • They communicate when there is too much or too little fertilizer - they can indicate if we need to add more of a specific nutrient.
  • A new crop of weeds can tell us whether we are planting good, clean seed (or not).
  • Weeds tell us a lot about the quality of the soil or tilth - whether it's sandy, clay, compacted, too fertile, not fertile enough.
So before you reach for a weed spray, take a look around and follow some other sage advice I’ve picked up along the way – know your weeds and learn what they are trying to tell you about your garden.  Get started, one weed at a time and here is a game plan to help you:
  1. Identify the weed you have – your local County Extension office can help you with plant identification.
  2. Once you have correctly identified the weed, investigate the optimal conditions for the weed.
  3.  Use your new knowledge to formulate your strategy for fixing the problem – focus on the root cause of the problem. For instance, if the weed likes moist, poorly draining areas develop a plan to fix the drainage.  
To help get you started, here are some common weeds and what might be encouraging them:

If you don’t know what to do about the weeds you have, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you get started on managing weeds.  Just remember that after you get rid of the weeds – we’ll help you focus on improving your soil

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