“The benefits of weeds have been neglected. They’re often seen as undesirable, unwanted. We’re now beginning to quantify their benefits.”
Eric Bee wrote: This has literally become my approach and I urge everyone to re-examine their thinking about "weeds". To give another example: this past spring I grew lettuce such that from a distance you could not see the lettuce for the weeds. I never had to irrigate and yet my yield was exactly the same. The lettuce tasted better to boot because the soil was kept cool.
Eric Bee wrote:
The longer I farm, the less I weed. I do absolute minimum cultivation in the immediate vicinity of growing plants until they are able to out compete the "weeds". If there is no competition, I do not weed. For example, with carrots I let weeds sprout along with the carrots and then weed in the immediate vicinity only enough to let the carrots outgrow the weeds. It's a tricky balance because I want the weeds to help retain soil moisture and even shade the young carrots, but not directly compete so much. After a certain point the carrots are bigger than everything else and I need only weed the odd thing that gets out of control.
Angela Aragon wrote:I don't know how we got into this idea that we had to have a barren waste land to grow our food in. It makes no sense.
It really has mirrored technological development, which has led to increasing corporate influence.
Greed is the problem
I've mentioned a study before showing increased yields in Blueberries, and research out of Texas has demonstrated cotton yield increases of 18% with improved pollinator habitat.
But Corn & Soybeans?
Iowa's largest commercial crops corn and soybeans don't rely on pollinators like many other crops. However, new research by Iowa State's Matt O'Neal suggests growing more bee-friendly habitats could prove to be a worthwhile goal for soybean growers looking to improve yield.
Read more http://cornandsoybeandigest.com/soybeans/can-bees-build-soybean-yields
"Three examples of earlier research include:
• A short-term Canadian study found bees’ presence was associated with much higher yields in food-grade soybeans.
• Australian researchers demonstrated yield increases of 10-40% in honey bee-pollinated soybeans, compared to self-pollinated beans.
• In 2005, a Brazilian research project compared soybean seed production with and without honey bee colonies by raising plants in cages, and reported 50% higher yields when bees were present."