A reader wrote to me today and said, “Theresa, I want to tell you that for years I’ve been carrying out trashcans of weeds, clippings, etc. to my curb to be taken away by the trash-man.
Your blog is just now beginning to get me thinking about this (sometimes I have to hear things lots of times before they stick) and I’m starting to see how daft it is to be hauling away clean usable material.”
It’s Called Being Human
I’m sure most of us can relate to this since the characteristic of having to hear or see things lots of time before they stick is typical of most humans. That’s how we learn.
Thus, I thought this would be a good time to bring up using garden weeds and refuse to your benefit rather than having the trash-man haul it away.
Not Much Need Leave the Property
If I had a shredder to shred small limbs that fall from our trees — which I don’t — then very little organic material from our property would ever leave it. As hard as good organic material is to come by there is no reason for anything but weed seeds, wire grass and diseased foliage of garden plants to ever leave your property.
I seldom have weeds in the garden. But when I have a weed or a clump of grass come up — I pull it, turn the roots up and leave it to dry out and decay. I’ve done this for 35 years. It’s a great way to benefit from weeds and add organic matter to my garden and/or borders. Plus – the great benefit of saving time by not having to haul stuff from one place to the other.
There is no reason to take anything anywhere – other than weed seeds, wire grass, diseased foliage, and big stuff (if you don’t have a chipper). Just leave it where it’s pulled or cut. It all decays and all benefits your soil. If you have a problem with how it looks — spread a little straw over it —- but even that isn’t necessary since it decays quickly.
My reader is really getting the hang of this. She writes an example: “Today I continued harvesting my sweet potatoes. The vines are now chopped up on my beds. In past years I would have let the leaves die off, and then sent off (trashed) the ropy vines. This time, I snipped and chopped the whole lot.”
More About Weeding
If your soil has been prepared properly you shouldn’t have to do a lot of weeding. And the weeding you do should be easy because your soil was prepared properly.
Whenever we’ve prepared soil — be it garden beds, garden paths, or flower borders — we’ve always taken the time to get ALL the weeds out. Then we mulch the newly prepared area —– Yes, even paths. The weeding you do at the point of preparation should be the most weeding you ever have to do again. The first year or two you may have to pull more weeds than in following years until all the seeds that were in the soil have finished germinating, but at least by year 3 —- you should not have very many weeds at all. And you should never have to make weeding a job.
When you’re getting all the weeds out during the soil preparation process — you can throw them in a hot compost pile and let them decay. If you don’t want to bother with that — just put them in a pile and let them decay over time. This is called a cold compost pile. It’ll work great and you’ll have some great compost within 6 months or a year to return to the beds you just prepared.
Garden weeds and garden refuse are organic matter for your soil. Use them to benefit your garden.
Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient —- and it’s a lot healthier.
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