weedkillers ...Len

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by ~Tullymoor~, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. FREEMAN

    FREEMAN Junior Member

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    Yes we have thought about that.

    Unfortunately dogs wander onto our property and dogs mauling goats is fairly common around here, also we go away a bit so having animals at present is out of the question.

    Regards
     
  2. t0xic_honey

    t0xic_honey Junior Member

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    heavens! i just dropped by for some weed chat and looks like i stepped into something a little more chemical than i was bargaining for! :wink: anyway, i'm a newbie, to the forum AND a new permie, so forgive any faux pas or general dumbass questions/observations...

    i introduced myself over on the shootin' the breeze forum so you can check that out if you need to check me out!

    So... my thoughts about weeds are very unformed at this point, and i'm trying to get a handle on them mostly from a pasture point of view I guess...

    I'm come to the opinion (though this hasn't always been the case - I plead ignorance) that weeds are just plants which are growing in an inconvenient place, that one person's weed is another person's medicine, that weeds are beneficial in many many ways, not just in terms of the possibility of creating nutrient rich soil (in the sense of slashing, mulching, making compost teas and weed stews etc...), but also in the sense of being bug attractors, companion plants, things for myself and my cows to eat and drink and so on.

    I'm reading Back from the Brink by Peter Andrews right now (i read alot, i'm a bit on the back foot with this one, i realise everyone in the world but me has read it already!) Early on in the book he talks alot about pasture and biodiversity, about what makes poor pasture and what makes a healthy pasture. This is relevant to my experience here on the farm, since we have livestock and having enough healthy pasture is always on my mind.

    Usually I would look out at the front paddock and bemoan the thistles waving like tall aliens amongst the grass. I pull fireweed as I wander from the front to the back paddock. Rip out piles upon piles of farmer’s friend and try to yank out other unidentified weeds that clearly have taproots all the way to the centre of the earth.

    In my veggie gardens I have always cleared the soil completely before deep digging, adding cowshit and other composted materials. All weeds *must* be eradicated! (I must emphasise here that I use no method other than hand pulling, no homemade weedkillers or commercial weedkillers [can't comprehend that...], and I either leave them on the ground or compost them)

    So it was nice to have a weedy change of heart about all this... One of the stories in the book that held my interest was about the elderly horse stud farmer with the weedy pasture, which the author finally realised was the sign of a healthy pasture. The only control methods he used was slashing, mulching the slashed weeds and a "bit of fishmeal" every few years... Apparently in this farmer’s approach, a weed free pasture is considered to be a pasture in decline. Apparently a healthy pasture might contain up to 80 different weed species, and any less than 40 is considered to indicate a pasture in decline.

    It's been mentioned to me, and posted here about how specific weeds might indicate a deficiency in the soil in the area where they grow. The weeds with long tap roots mine for certain chemicals, bringing them up the the topsoil and into their leaves. Slashing them and leaving them on the ground return the chemical to the soil for use by other plants, enriching the soil and restoring the balance. I guess the same principle applies to the "pepper" made of weed seeds and sprinkled on the earth where the weeds grow. The pepper is made from ashing the seeds.

    Apparently there is a pattern of weed growth where the weeds grow until they reach a critical mass, return the nutrients to the earth that are needed, and then the soil is ready for pasture again. And so it goes.

    SO looking at my vegie gardens, I’m part way there. I think it’s ok to pull grass. I don’t mono-plant and I always chuck the seeds of a bug mix around the garden (which essentially means I’m planting weeds, right?!). I have as many different plants and vegies as I can in a patch, with herbs and always onions and tomatos, hoping that they’re companionable (I’m learning about things which like different types of soils, so this will become refined over time…)

    The pastures confound me a little. And these are the questions (sorry about the long winded preamble!) which I'd like thoughts on... I’m unsure which weeds are actually noxious (eg: fireweed?) and need to be destroyed utterly (or is this idea completely spurious?). If so, how does one destroy them? Once again, if I'm hand pullling (yes I'm obsessive...), can I then burn them on a specific burn pile? I’m unsure if there’s a time in growth cycle which is optimum for slashing. Is it ok to leave weeds which have gone to seed on the ground? Is it ok to pull weeds, roots and all? Should we be killing "weeds" at all? What the hell are those huge weeds along the fenceline with green parachutes attached to them full of seeds? Is it OK to hate thistles?

    Oh also you may already know of these resources (ps: thanks for the pat coleby book tip back up there!), but here's a couple of weedy sites/books to check out...
    "Useful Weeds at our Doorstep" by Pat Collins
    Weedy Connections

    Thanks for getting this far! any advice welcomed. t0xxx
     
  3. t0xic_honey

    t0xic_honey Junior Member

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    hmmmm... should i post this to another thread? identifying weeds perhaps? I'd really like some feedback/advice etc... t0xic_honey
     
  4. Ojo

    Ojo Junior Member

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  5. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Freeman, I wasn't meaning shade, but that some weeds will regrow if you expose their roots to light (eg by digging them up you expose root bits that grow again) whereas some will die if you expose them to light. This is a good thing to figure out about any individual weed because it's the difference between trying to dig it out vs mulching deeply.

    It's been a while since I dealth with ivy in any way, but from what I remember it will grow roots from any part of the stalk yeah? So I'd guess that digging is counter productive. Or at least do an initial hard dig, and then heavy mulch but don't dig again.
     
  6. Ryan

    Ryan Junior Member

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    Instead of slashing/weeding and burning you may try slashing and charing. Make a pile of weeds and ag. waste and partially cover with dirt and burn on a damp day. This makes the fire burn at a low temp, and low oxygen level. As a result, the carbon is sequestered in the material as well as some nutrients. Spread this char over the garden beds. Do a search on this site for "terra preta" or "dark earth" for a more in depth and accurate description. This process creates a great medium which acts more like a sponge, holding moisture longer and locking nutrients in place instead of them eventually being washed out.
     
  7. t0xic_honey

    t0xic_honey Junior Member

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    This is a GREAT tip, thank you SO much, I'm very interested in the whole sequestering of carbon aspect...
     

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