Ok as I weed as I don't have much mulch, I get to thinking LOTS about the stuff I read on here and today's thought is....
The weeds have different root lengths and draw up different minerals from different depths. That being so, is it better to leave them to get a bit bigger if you are then going to put them on a compost heap as they'd take up more goodness to enrich elsewhere?
Because of the amount of loss of minerals from rain, wind, erosion, etc. it's best to compost your weeds/plants in place as much as possible (see Masanobu Fukuoka methods).
However, second best option is to compost and return all vegetation from your property to your property - as your doing.
As for your thought for the day question, seems defeating to wait in order to remove more minerals here, only to add to compost, and then to return it to there - IMO. Pull weeds only as a last resort, and then in the easiest possible way - like when they are small, the ground is damp, and such. Or better yet get some white vinegar and spray them in place being careful not to spray anything you want to keep. I often use a piece of cardboard in the spring to block/push back plants I want and easily spray the little weeds in-place.
You want your land working for you and not the other way round, as much as possible.
i generally sheet compost with my weeds that I don't allow to grow or eat, and sometimes it is easier to allow them to grow a little, as they are easier to grip and pull..and then drop for mulch..but some, if you allow them to grow, you'll never get them out of the ground..esp if it is dry as they can cling furiously to their little patch of soil !
I've been finding with our drought that knapweed is hellish to pull this year..as are a few others..and i have a wonderful crop of lambsquarters, but i'm eating those.
Bloom where you are planted.
I could imagine letting weeds grow tall in order to produce more mulch.
Depending on the species, there may be a time in their development (often as flowering begins) where cutting at ground level leaves a depleted root system to starve and rot in place, and stems and leaves that dry out before viable seed manages to develop. That dead material could then be gathered up to make an effective mulch where it's most needed, while another generation of weeds grows in the remaining space.
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imo its best to let plants go until they are just about to set seed. this way you get whats in the leaves, stalks, roots and immature seeds. as well as the most biomass because the plant is mature. some plants cant just be pulled and put down on the soil as mulch, some weeds will take root at the nodes and it will be just like you didn't pull it. we have a few of those here, they get composted or fed to the chickens. its a good idea to know the weed you are fighting, and if you should be fighting it at all.
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posted 8 years ago
I think the answer to your question is yes, but it depends...yes to more plant material etc to make into mulch/compost. BUT waiting might make the job more difficult(the act of removing the weed if you want to get most of the root to prevent more sprouting) because the roots are deeper. BUT deeper roots mean deeper tillling of the soil which will leave dead roots to add organic matter down there.
I've got enough room to consider "weedy waste space" as growing mulch for my garden. I do harvest plant matter before the flowers open up(at least, better when they are nubbins).
I've been making a new garden area, clearing grown up stuff and I used the slash in making new beds. I'll make a thread and explain what I did. There was thistles, grasses, wild geraniums, dock, st johns wort, young blakcberry vines, feverfew etc growing in the ground.
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posted 8 years ago
Wyldthang, I'll be watching for that post as I have quite a bit of that to do - admitedly in our fields but garden/field, where's the difference?
I've been out and pulled weeds and mulched them in situ. Jami you were right, I want my land working for me not the other way round.
Some weeds are good to encourage. I would never consider pulling up dandelions they have a really deep taproot. They are tasty when the leave are young so I slice them off at ground level and then harvest the new leaves in a few days. My rabbits don't care how big the leaves are so when I do my slicing it is top feed them. I do the same with plantain. I actually feed my weeds LOL. Yellow dock is a different story though I carefully dig it up and make sure it is thoroughly dry before dropping back on the ground because that stuff "wills" itself back to life if it isn't completely dry. Common sedge gets burned if it has seed heads. That stuff is really hard to get rid of and it over powered my fiddlehead fern bed when I first moved in here. Even if I see it before the seed heads have formed, it gets dried out before it is composted.
"When there is no life in the soil it is just dirt."
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