getting rid of weeds

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by ezylala, May 7, 2010.

  1. ezylala

    ezylala Junior Member

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    Tips in getting rid of weeds:

    - Landscaping your garden to get rid and prevent further weed growth.
    - Aerating your soil regularly can stop the growth of some weeds
    - Fertilizing the ground regularly can actually get rid of weeds while helping other plants to flourish
    - Pull weeds by hand

    What other tips can you suggest? Share it here!
     
  2. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Change your mind.
     
  3. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    We love our weeds!
     
  4. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    My beds are always covered in mulch. My 'weeds ' live in the ex 'lawn', and very happy they are too!
    I actively avoid digging for zillions of reasons, bu I find it hard to imagine that "fertilizing the ground" might deter weeds. I've found that plants that thrive in poor soil thrive more in a garden.
    If you don't want weeds in your garden, mulch is the answer. It'll sort out water and fertility issues as well. I love mulch!
    Psst. Weeds make great mulch...
     
  5. Speedy

    Speedy Junior Member

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    'weeds'

    For brassicas, I like to cultivate lightly in the soil around them to knock down the small weed seedlings before they get too big.

    The soil is prepared with compost before planting and then when the brassicas are big enough they cover the ground completely and reduce any weed growth.

    Keeping the soil 'fluffed' acts as a mulch, yet allows rain and dew to wet the soil.
    I'll sometimes apply fresh mown lawn grass very lightly and it gets worked in a bit too.
    Cultivation and fresh grass favours bacterial over fungal growth, just what Brassicas want.

    Around the edges I'll plant Alyssums as the 'weed' / mulch .
    They provide food for predatory insects and Alyssums thrive in the same conditions as brassicas- pH>7, bacterialy dominant, well drained, sunny.

    I usually let weeds grow and then scrape the soil bare where I'll plant a tree of garden bed.
    the weeds are either composted , used as mulch or left in a pile to break down naturally where i want to plant a tree in the future.

    I have stawberries, comfrey, yarrow and tomatillos as some of my 'choice weeds' under citrus trees

    The (loaded) anthropocentric definition is "a plant that's in the wrong place"...
    but,
    I reckon that (bigger picture) "if nature didn't intend it to be there, it wouldn't have given life to the seed that germinated there."
    Irrespective of whether it's indigenous or not.

    Humans are the only species that I know of that goes and gets all uptight about weeds.
    maybe just too wild and unruly, untameable for our minds to deal with

    Mulch/compost improve the soil in so many ways and shortcut the jobs that weeds are 'trying to do' by years, maybe decades

    lots of weeds (and ancestors of our vegetables) grow well in disturbed soils, digging garden beds provide a form of disturbance.
    our vegetables would have been selected from 'weeds' growing around settled areas, possibly growing in and around refuse heaps.
    they may have grown from seed or offcuts discarded from former meals and grown better with higher nutrient levels and then improved over centuries of selection.

    so weeds aren't all bad, when you look at it,
    and weeds depend on humans to label them as weeds,
    otherewise they'd just be plants doing what plants do.
    :)
     
  6. butchasteve

    butchasteve Junior Member

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    yeah nature doesn't get upset or uptight about weeds at all. Grass species being wiped out, in turn reducing the populations of grass wrens. hmm rubbervine, where do i start..

    weeds are great. i love how they were brought in by man, take hold of damaged landscapes, invade virgin lands and destroy our country's biodiversity. I love weeds!
     
  7. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Not all "weeds" were brought in by man. They are only "weeds" because we named them that, like Speedy said. Plenty of them are brought in by birds and animals. Plenty of them provide nectar sources for beneficial insects. There's native plants and nonNative plants. The environment is always changing, it doesn't mean it's always for the worst. In fact, it's the inappropriate tilling and farming practices of the 1930's that lost the topsoil in the plains of the US that removed the native plants and caused an imbalance in the insect population. Some plants used to only be in South Africa or they used to only be in Argentina, and are now around the world taking over from native plants. but we live in a global community. All creatures are moving seeds and plants around, and change is going to happen.

    I don't want my native grass to kill my blueberry plants, but my blueberries are the invaders, not the grass. My tomatoes, onions, spinach, apple trees, pear trees, are the invaders, not the native plants. I'm the one who is changing my native landscape. and I've tried to make sure that what I put there won't be too invasive so the natives can survive. I'm the one cutting down the native shrubs so I can plant fig trees. Just because we like stuff, doesn't mean it's supposed to be here either :)
     
  8. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Ah, the old native vs non-native debate.

    I think the definition of a plant in the wrong place is a good one. It doesn't mean there is something evil about the plant, and the problem with much of conservation is that it demonises 'weeds' to the extent that it can no longer see when they are useful. On the other hand, with the anti-nativist crowd, I rarely see an acknowledgement of the rights or inherent value of native ecosystems.

    It seems this comes down to what humans want to serve their own needs. I live in a very degraded landscape (deliberate fire and clear felling removed the original ecosystems, and then 150 years of over grazing, and in more recent years over fertilising and spraying as well). I'd love to see much of this land restored to native ecosystems, and some of it kept for local food production (mostly non-natives). In both those situations there will be plants in the wrong place that need to be removed. How they get removed (and the knowledge and philosophies underlying that) will determine if native and food/other resource ecosystems can be created here. At the moment conservation and mainstream farming are both undermining that. I'm not sure where permaculture fits into that.

    So, if a weed is a plant in the wrong place, what do we call a post in the wrong place (the first post being a promotion of commerce and now most likely a quite successful promotion because of the business of this thread) ;-)
     
  9. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I would suggest that a post in the wrong place that results in commercial gain is called Spam......
     
  10. butchasteve

    butchasteve Junior Member

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    i have been convinced over time that weeds can be useful of course. but the fact of "control" is still a factor.

    for eg. using (allowing) lantana as a soil enhancer. its a great premise, one i would use myself. but if unattended or allowed onto waterways it could destroy the farm next door, or gain a foothold in a native ecosystem. the idea that only damaged landscapes are prone to weed infestation is not completely true, it does increase the risk majorly. But also, where do we find many undamaged landscapes?

    conservation can take an ugly ineffectual turn sometimes, take the bushfires in victoria for example. but as a whole it is needed, too long have people just destroyed natural areas in a whim. take urban bushland for eg. a significant piece of bushland is often overlooked for its significance and allowed to be be (or sold by council to be) developed, all because it is infested by weeds.
     
  11. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    How does lantana enhance the soil?
     
  12. Speedy

    Speedy Junior Member

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    Hi sweetpea,
    Lantana grows very vigorously along the higher, summer rainfall coastal strip of NSW and Qld.
    It acts like a living mulch but in 'forest proportions' and can grow in continuous thickets up to 5-6 metres high.
    It is one of the most effective things for converting grass to forest or orchard, but just takes a bit of time.

    Many folk curse it, but when you see the soil under it after a decade or so of growth, it's almost as if you want to eat it.
    Crumbly, dark, rich in om, great for garden beds or orchards , and few smaller weeds to contend with.
    I've seen hundreds of native forest species taking advantage of the protection it affords.

    Lantana is a bit abrasive on skin as you bash it down, but if you dress acordingly it's ok .
    It's relatively easy to bash it down with sticks or fern hook, bill hook, brush hook, machete, Parang, arit or wharever your tool of choice.

    The trash can be composted fairly quickly.
    I dont have any pics ,
    but maybe others here will be able to show you what I'm talking about.
    I know you'd understand if you saw it.

    I miss lantana gardening,
    I've even planted one in my semi-arid Mediterranean as a reminder.
     
  13. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    I think the massive leaf drop is part of the soil building Sweetpea and also the number of birds that flit through the bush.
     
  14. charlesinnaloo

    charlesinnaloo Junior Member

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    This is a permaculture forum, there is no weeds only opportunity. Free compost, free food and strong plants. If you want to grow plants that do not grow as well as the weeds that is your choice (and let face it we all do) but if you want to change the "natural system" effort must be put in.
    So what we are discussing is the best use of weeds and the most efficient use of effort to stop them being weeds.
    - Eat them, remove them and compost, lay down 10 cm thick mulch, introduce your own weeds, borage, yarrow, comfrey, alysium, danilions, NZ spinach and many more useful plants will out compete weeds once given a little head start.

    If you want to have uncovered soil while your introduced seeds or seedlings are small there is little choice but local and selected weed removal. However, often snails will eat your weeds rather than you seedlings if you leave the bed full of small weed seedlings. As the snails know which of the plants has more nutrients and is better for them. So only remove those competing weeds right next to your seedling when they are young.
    Cheers, Charles
     
  15. hardworkinghippy

    hardworkinghippy Junior Member

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    I rarely remove weeds, I mulch heavily and our chickens weed anywhere there is bare soil.
     
  16. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    I see what you're saying about the lantana. I have lots of it, but I never thought of it as enchanting the soil (funny typo, I thought I'd leave that in). I have a sprawling version of it, rather than the big bush kind, and it does have a lot of leaf mulch under it, I just always left it there for it, rather than harvested it. but that's a thought to use it not only as part of the flowering/beneficials attractor, but as a component to the compost.

    I'll have to take some pics of my purple vetch that is blocking out weeds. It's doing a super job, and since I love the fixing nitrogen part of it, and the annual-ness of it, the free seeds and pretty flowers, I'm really encouraged to use much more of it.
     
  17. Speedy

    Speedy Junior Member

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    The sprawling (purple flowered) one I think is L.montevidensis.
    the bigger one is L.camara.
    there are some cultivars with different coloured flowers sold in nurseries.
    'Chelsea Gem' - red fls
    'Drap D'or'- yellow
    Cant remember the others, but the weedy one has mainly pink and yellow changing flowers,
    though I have seen red flowered populations running wild in NNSW.
     
  18. butchasteve

    butchasteve Junior Member

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    I don't buy that. and neither will your neighbours once their farm is over-run with rubbervine (belly-ache bush, lantana, calitrope, glycine.), destroying their arable land, after you failed to capitalise on the opportunity.

    Take a look outside your farm, and you'll find weeds do truly exist. I fail to see the opportunity in rubbervine taking over a farm (which can happen as quickly a 6 months if you don't eradicate it completely) 1000's of hard rooted seedlings after just one wind. even worse after a flood.

    I understand the feel good mantra, but it is blind to the fact that some species are uncontrollable and completely devastating when in our native ecosystem.

    As for the "this is a permaculture forum". this is true. but it only is a place where our topics of discussion are centred on that subject, it doesn't mean we forget there is an ecosystem outside our pemie plots. Or if that is the case, i will never be a permie, nor would ever want to be.
     

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