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"weeding"?  RSS feed

 
Jamie Jedinak
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Hello Larry,
Good to have met you this summer at Inspiration farm outside of Bellingham. One thing I am not clear on is how does one keep all of the "weeds" from taking over if one doesn't weed out the invasive? I have so much buttercup here I think I could scream.....I am starting a mulching plan but that is different that what Fukuoka did, right? Thank you! Jamie

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larry korn
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Hi Jamie, Nice to hear from you. I really enjoyed my visit with you in Bellingham! It's really hard to generalize about weeds since conditions are so varied. Often they exist as "invasive" because of something people are doing, most commonly tilling the soil. When you do that you not only stir up seeds deep in the soil but you also set succession back to time zero. Nature seems to abhor bare ground so it is covered up as soon as possible by plants that have an advantage under those conditions. So the first two things you should consider is what might I consider discontue doing that is causing the weeds to get so strong, and how might I improve the soil or otherwise change things so those problem weeds will no longer have an advantage. In gaia's garden, for example, Toby gives the example of bindweed, one of the most difficult weeds in the PNW. It does particularly well in poor soil and that is generally what we create by our activity. Once he was able to improve the soil by using mulch and a permanent ground cover, the bindweed lost its advantage and disappeared.

Typical conventional permaculture techniques would be STOP PLOWING, mulch, sheet mulch, permanent ground cover. Fukuoka-san said that dealing with weeds was his most difficult challenge while he was creating his natural farming techniques.

Say hi to everyone for me, OK?
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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larry korn wrote:Fukuoka-san said that dealing with weeds was his most difficult challenge while he was creating his natural farming techniques.


So we all have the same....
Permaculture is said to be for lazy people, but I guess we have to work a lot before we can rest!

I think it is much easier when you have a rotation of large crops such as cereals, or when you establish an orchard and you just need a ground cover.
It seems more difficult with polyculture!

I just wander if it is worth planting ANYTHING before fixing the soil!
I cannot weed all with a mulch, as I would choke even the good plants I want to keep.
And what's about the perennial that are already in, and if you want to weed around them? Explain it to chicks?

Sometimes I dream I start it all over, get rid of everything with hens, and get a big cover of green manure with borage and other beneficial plants.
And start the garden in 5 years!
 
Terri Matthews
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Location: Eastern Kansas
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I wonder........

We do not have buttercup here: we have bindweed, and it is bad.

The thing is, in the often mowed area, like my lawn, the bindweed peters out and vanishes. So, if I were to keep my garden mowed for a year or two, then the bindweed problem would be very much reduced. And, in fact, when I moved the garden I had much less problems with it.

Is there any chance of you letting an area go to mown grass for a year? Would that diminish the buttercup problem?
 
Cohan Fulford
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Location: West Central Alberta, Canada
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Not directly answering the question, just some background info- Tall buttercup, Ranunculus acris, is one of (to me) the most bothersome invasive weeds (in nature, I define weeds primarily as non-native plants which are taking habitat away from native plants; to farmers, it means plants not part of a crop nor edible to livestock- buttercup fits all of those definitions)- it is not much a plant of gardens of fields but rather mostly a plant of pastures which have not (recently at least) been plowed, and have mainly native plants used for livestock forage, often growing with common agricultural escape forage plants. The buttercup spreads here especially in damp/wet pastures that have been heavily grazed, though it will then spread into neighbouring wooded areas also, to a lesser degree.
I can't see mowing helping, since it spreads in overgrazed (not dry though) areas. There are usually still native plants among the buttercups, but obviously fewer.. it may not be replacing the smaller forbs such as marsh violets, but quite certainly is replacing grasses, sedges, rushes etc..
I don't know if mulching would work- probably if it were thick enough- I have doubts above cover crops, unless they were very tall, taller than the buttercup. When they pop up on my acreage occasionally, I dig them out. but don't know what you'd do in a field (obviously farmers here spray if they get around to it) unless you could find an animal that will eat them- cows certainly don't. Maybe the method of penning in horses- fed with hay- to trample them would work!

I forgot to add - regarding the idea of 'weeds' obviously common garden weeds that are really neglected food plants of old are a totally different issue, both because of their value as food, and also because they are generally not present in natural areas, at least not intact ones.. Nor do I have a huge concern about garden escapes that only introduce a few plants here and there into semi/natural plant communities, as that does not reduce biodiversity (hard to know, though, when those gentle invaders can become serious invaders that reduce biodiversity).. Native plants which seed themselves into garden beds and lawns are not weeds to me, even though sometimes they need to be thinned/removed/relocated. In my case, no intervention would mean I lived in a spruce forest before long..
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Jamie Jedinak wrote:Good to have met you this summer at Inspiration farm outside of Bellingham. One thing I am not clear on is how does one keep all of the "weeds" from taking over if one doesn't weed out the invasive? I have so much buttercup here I think I could scream.....


If you have so much, then I would just mulch thickly with whatever is possible to choke it...
Then some green mature and see if it comes back.

It is perennial and is not grazed, so what else I do not see... Yes it likes wet old pasture, and sure flourishes because the competitors have been grazed! It will not go by itself.
 
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