Mother Nature is an incredible mysterious being. She brings energy, life, questions, answers, beauty and everything in between to this world. She can be loud and intense. She can be peaceful and serene. She is everywhere and the more you accept and work with her, the more you feel connected and grounded. When you do right by her, she sends this energy toward you that allows you to feel, see and love. It is when you fight against her that you feel disconnected and confused. There is no rhyme or reason to her but if you allow yourself to be open and accepting, she shows you the answers you seek.
When gardening, or even just having a yard, there are so many factors that play into feeling “successful.” You want that perfect looking tomato with no blemishes. You want strawberries that don’t have any holes from bugs. You want the brightest most green grass on the block. Sometimes you go to any extent to have these things. Sometimes that involves using pesticides or other chemicals to achieve it. But what that can do is disrupt mother natures plan to keep everything in order.
Weeds in the garden feel like you’re going into war. You knock a couple out and feel like you have won. Then BAM, ten more follow in its place. But if you just stop for a second and allow Mother Nature to really speak to you, you will find that those weeds are there for a reason. Weeds are Mother Natures way of restoring balance to the earths soil. So we are here to say it loud and say it proud, “LET THE WEEDS LIVE YO!” Change that image in your head of that picture perfect garden. The garden with a white picket fence and perfect garden beds that stay neat and orderly. Having that image can really bum you out when reality hits. Weeds are here for a reason. To restore balance. To restore nutrients. To restore life. Each weed brings something different. Something that your soil is lacking.
I want you to stop and take a deep breath and look at the weeds that surround you. Are they all the same weed? Are they different? Is there the same weed in the same area? Do you see a pattern to the weeds? Do you notice that the same weed pops up at the same time of year? Do you notice that when you pull it this really long root comes up with it?
These are all questions that can lead into some really good reasons as to why your should let your weeds thrive. In permaculture, you allow nature to play its role and trust that she is providing exactly what is needed to create harmony and balance. Permaculture is the development of tiny little escosystems that allow the growth of sustainability and self sufficiency. Allowing the weeds to do what they were intended to do, creates this system that requires less and less work on your end in the long run.
Each weed brings something beneficial to your soil. Let’s take a few common weeds and discuss why you want to let them live.
Dandelions (taraxacum officinale)
Besides having multiple medicinal properties and being edible, dandelions show up in gardens that have hardened clay soil. They have large tap roots that draw up nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, Iron and calcium. Having a large root system also helps break up that hardened soil creating a much more desirable growing area.
Oxalis strict (aka sour grass)
I think we all have experienced this weed as kids. Did you not stick this little bad boy in your mouth and find out it’s sour? Come on, admit it. My grandma use to tell me they were sour because dogs peed on them!?! That’s grandma for you. This little weed is actually edible and packed with vitamin C. It is also a nitrogen fixer for your soil. It helps pull nitrogen out of the air and bring it down into the soil by storing it in its roots. So instead of killing it off, enjoy a refreshingly sour treat and allow the magic to take place in your soil.
White clover (trifolium Repens)
Those clover like pedals and those little white flowers actually bring so many benefits to your garden. The white flowers attract bees, which help pollinate. The plant can be used as a ground cover, which helps retain moisture in the ground. It can also be used a nitrogen fixer.
Plantain (plantago major)
This little bad boy pops up where you have compaction in your soil. It has a tap root that allows air and other nutrients to go deep into the soil. Plantain is also a highly use medicinal herb. It is a great antibacterial and anti inflammatory. It helps speed up the recover process of wounds and insect bites.
Shepherds purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
This little weed takes care of the bugs. It has a sappy substance that attracts and traps insects. So if you are having some trouble with little bugs in the garden and you happen to notice this little weed around, it might be helping. Shepherds purse is actually edible, in moderation, and helps with reducing internal bleeding. It was also used during childbirth due to its ability to contact the uterus. Do not eat while pregnant.
Mallow (Malta neglecta)
This lovely little weed is found in moist soil. It is edible and quite delicious in salads. Mallow has a single tap root, which helps draw up nutrients from down below in the soil. Nutrients that you forgot you even had!
So what have you learned? LET THE WEEDS LIVE YO! There is nothing wrong with having life in your garden, no matter what kind. So take a deep breath in and allow Mother Nature to share her wisdom with you. She was here first, we just have to learn how to work with her and life will be alright.
Share your weed story with me. No, not that kind of weed story, a garden weed story silly. Leave a comment below or shoot me an email.
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