A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows. ~ Doug Larson
probably not gone completely bonkers! Yes, you read that headline correctly!
I LOVE weeds!
Allow me to explain…
Last month I got my first flu in years. Instead of soldiering on through aching eyeballs, pressing sinus head-implosion and hacking cough, I instead face-planted into my pillow and decided to hibernate until I was back to normal.
Fortunately, it was relentlessly rainy, not a good time to be outside anyway. And once I had recovered enough to venture beyond my bed, the sunshine was back. As I inspected my garden, there were weeds sprouting everywhere.
I benevolently believe weeds are basically just the wrong plant in the wrong spot. Sure, given the chance, they’ll rob your intended crop of nutrients, sunshine and water. If you turn a blind eye, these same cheeky plants will go to seed, and eventually take over your entire garden. So yes, weeds can be a problem.
And I had so many weeds…
So why do I love weeds?
Viewed in a prudent light, weeds are actually a fantastically useful resource in your garden.
So please don’t spray them, or waste them by sending them to council landfill in your rubbish bin.
For example, my worm farm had seen better days. Coming out of Autumn, the worms had converted all the waste into castings. My chickens get most of our edible household scraps, and my tumbling compost bins get the extra green waste to balance out the amount of chicken poop and newspaper they consume. The worms usually miss out. I was considering venturing out to stables nearby to shovel some free horse manure to feed my worm farm. But it’s not my favourite way to spend a morning.
Thankfully, a morning pulling weeds was enough to fill my worm bin with a restoring amount of soft green waste, just the kind of plant material they love to eat and transform into castings.
Thank you weeds!
A huge volunteer patch of borage had popped up. Through layers of sand, weedmat and gravel, just to indicate how robust borage is. I was able to transplant most of the wayward borage into a friend’s new Apiary Patch and into a few other spots in my own garden. Bees love borage and the honey is amazing. The chickens love a borage salad too. Borage is a compost accelerator so each tumbling bin got a dose. Plus, borage flowers are humanly edible and make a beautiful garnish.
No weed *problem* here!
The chickens have their own forage patch, but a few handfuls of borage, grass and dandelions thrown into the coop was gobbled up in seconds.
More weeds please!
Any weed that has yet to flower can be tossed straight into the compost bin, fed to the chickens or worm bin. I have even shredded pre-flowering weeds through my mulcher and deposited them right back into the soil I pulled them from.
Much obliged, weeds!
Flowering or seeding weeds need to handled a little more carefully to ensure you don’t unwittingly spread them further. Deadhead the seeds or flowers into a separate bucket before composting the rest of the plant.
Finally, I had to deal with the cursed, g*#damned cooch grass. I really do hate this stuff. Because if you put cooch in the worm bin, or the compost bin, it only seems to make it stronger and allow it to spread.
But this is how I exact my revenge. I drown it. I cram a bucket full of compacted cooch, really pack it it. Add the deadheaded flowers/seeds of any other weeds. Then I add a borage or some comfrey leaves to accelerate its demise…
I then fill the bucket to the brim with water, put the lid on tight, and forget about it for about a month. After that time, all the cooch and seeds break down to sludge and all their nutrients dissolve into the water.
Just a word of warning, if you think it looks nasty, I can assure you it smells ten times worse. But, by way of alchemy, your most hated weeds become something glorious. Liquid fertiliser. Drain it off into another bucket (while fighting back your gag reflex) and dilute it in your watering can 1 part stinky weed tea to 4 parts water. Your plants will love it. The remaining sludge can go in the compost bin where it will benignly break down even further.
Cheers to you *dry retch* cooch!
So how do you feel about weeds now?
I think weeds are a complimentary gift from Nature! A workout in disguise!
I hope you’ll grow to love them too (pardon the pun) and realise you don’t have a weed problem.
You have a weed opportunity.
What’s your favourite use for weeds? I’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment below.