How to Use Weeds to Help Your Organic Garden

Most gardeners will do everything in their power to make sure their garden is weed-free. But

removing them, either by pulling them out, tilling the soil, or spraying pesticides on them are

only removing the symptoms of the problem and may cause long-term damage for your soil and other plants. Weeds can become your ally in a biodiverse garden and outdoor play space by telling you what nutrients your soil lacks and they can even help rebuild your soil organic matter by breaking up compacted soil and encouraging microbial growth in their root systems which are essential for soil and plant nutrition, water retention, and even taking in carbon from the atmosphere.


So, instead of dreading the appearance of weeds, allow them to guide you to become a better organic gardener.


Here are ten common weeds and what they may mean:


Dandelion

  • acidic; low lime

  • heavy clay


 Weeds to Help Organic Garden - dandelion

Nettles

  • over-tilled

  • acidic; low lime


Thistle (various varieties)

  • alkaline (Perennial Sow Thistle)

  • water logged; poor drainage (Perennial Sow Thistle)

  • heavy clay (Annual Thistle)

  • saline (Russian Thistle)


Coltsfoot

  • waterlogged; poor drainage

  • acidic; low lime


 Weeds to Help Organic Garden - Coltsfoot


Stinkweed

  • high lime

  • hard pan (compacted)


Silvery Cinquefoil

  • dry

  • acidic; low lime


Plantains

  • waterlogged; poor drainage

  • acidic; low lime

  • tilled; cultivated soil


Mullein

  • acidic; low lime


 Weeds to Help Organic Garden - Mullein


Perennial Bluegrasses

  • overgrazed


Eastern Bracken

  • low potassium; low potash


Weeds are a good indicator of possible soil deficiencies, but also observe all the other signs that your garden is using to tell you what it needs such as the kinds of insects that come, the health (or unhealthiness) of your garden plants, where in your space the weeds are concentrated, and other symptoms.


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What's a better way to deal with weeds naturally instead of killing them? An organic,

regenerative, "no kill-no till"; advice is to cut off their leaves. Plants get 98 percent of their energy and nutrition through photosynthesis, so they starve without their leaves.


When you cut weeds, rather than pulling or killing them outright, their energy goes into sprouting new leaves and not root growth. This way, you still get the benefits of what their roots give to the soil, but each time they regrow and you cut off their leaves, they are weaker and their roots get smaller and shorter until they will not grow back anymore.


Also, ensure you have a good ground cover like Desmodium which repels pests, inhibits weed growth, fixes nitrogen into the soil, and hosts beneficial insects.


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And most importantly, let nature be your best teacher to maintain an organic, regenerative

garden. Whether it be weeds, pests, unsuccessful transplants of seedlings from nursery

compostable pots to the garden… These are all nature's way of speaking to you so you can

work together for a thriving, biodiverse organic eco garden.



Written by Jan Dizon

About the Author


Jan is a travelling yoga teacher and writer who advocates spiritual growth while leading a conscious, earth-centered lifestyle, as close to nature as possible. She currently lives on an island in the Philippines surrounded by tropical jungles and white sand beaches. She and her partner conduct sound meditations and journeys while advocating sustainable and organic gardening practices.


#organicgarden #biodiverse #ecogarden #gardener #organic


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