Toil
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The meaning of weeds

I heard a really smart guy on NPR a while back, talking about organic lawn care. He said about weeds "don't kill the messengers". He gave a few examples of what weeds signify what soil imbalances. I've ordered "weeds of the northeast" on a recommendation from HG.

But once I can identify, I still have to know what message they bring! Does anyone know where to learn or know how to do it? I want to learn to analyze soil with a microscope, but I have a ways to go before saving 600$ for a comfortable to use for an hour microscope. This seems like a great way to start communicating with the earth a little better.
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Hey, I thought *I* recommended that book, though HG might've endorsed it too. :o :bouncey:
Rainbowgardener and I are feeling under-appreciated... :roll: :lol: :>

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read this book for free, i love weeds now they are my friends :)

https://www.journeytoforever.org/farm_library/weeds/WeedsToC.html
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applestar wrote:Hey, I thought *I* recommended that book, though HG might've endorsed it too. :o :bouncey:
Rainbowgardener and I are feeling under-appreciated... :roll: :lol: :>
:oops:

you guys are definitely appreciated! when I see one of your posts I get all excited. I think rainbow must be mad, because she hasn't sent me the composting toilet song :cry: Sorry bout that. I must think of you as a very helpful gardner, and got you mixed up with "the" helpful gardener. what can I say, the guy is eponymous.

thanks soil, I'm off to check that link.
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applestar wrote:Hey, I thought *I* recommended that book, though HG might've endorsed it too. :o :bouncey:
Rainbowgardener and I are feeling under-appreciated... :roll: :lol: :>
Sorry girls I feel partly to blame too mixing you 2 up the other day. But you are both so awesome it's hard not to. :cry: You know you two and HG are the 3 amigos on here. This site wouldn't be the same without you 3.

Soil nice link I started to read it, I have it bookmarked so I can finish it later.

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:wink:

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Soil all I can say is wow! I've read the first 9 chapters so far I have a new respect for weeds, not saying I'm going to let them grow wild in my garden, I got compost to do my dirty work. But I may leave some go their own way to help break up the soil and give it some new life. I am going to try some cover crops this year which will do the same thing. But than what are cover crops but commonly accepted weeds right. :wink:

Really amazing.

By the way there area ton of online books in [url=https://www.journeytoforever.org/farm_library.html]the hompage[/url]of that site that look good including a few on soil microbiology that would be good primers for the book club reading. Look in the soil and humus section.

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gixxer no problem. that book changed my outlook on weeds too. of course don't let them grow wild. but with proper management, they can do a hell of a lot of work for you. the trick is to not let them go to seed! that way they are confined to a specific area, best to till them under right before they flower. over time certain weeds will dissapear because nutrient balances or filled and others are needed so others will pop up. i have seen pure crap soil turned into beautiful humus rich soil in no time because of weeds.

the other books are excellent too, check out the common sense compost making read. its EXCELLENT!!
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Toil, the smart feller on NPR was my buddy Paul. Come to the movie premiere in Hartford and I'll introduce you...

Yes weeds tell a lot about soil deficiencies or excesses. Some can even be cures or at least band-aids. We should rethink our assigning these certain plants our ugly moniker; dandelions are sending that taprrot to bring subsoil nutrition back up to where it can do good. Clover is just trying to put nitrogen back in the soil; if it is outcompeting grass the soil is not fertile enough yet; leave it be. Soon enough it will recharge the soil and the grass will outcompete it (assuming you aren't cutting to an inch or two.) I am seeding my veggie garden paths this year with Dutch clover; bane of Chemlawn techs everywhere, for just this effect.

So get to know them before you yank 'em or heavens forbid, spray them. They might not be the bad guy you thought they were, and in any event, you are not supposed to kill the messenger :wink:

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As the definite manager of housework (whether I work part- or full-time or am too unwell to work outside the house) and the designated weeder and identifier of weeds at this household, I can't help but notice that the philosophers on this thread are, I believe, guys and [warning: social assumption ahead...] thus probably aren't responsible for ensuring that such daily housework and weeding, two very related tasks, get done. (AS just recommended the book; she isn't philosophizing. And, since it's 10:45 p.m. at my house, the housework/laundry are done for today and it's too dark to weed; also way too wet. More rain came today.)

So the eloquence of "What weeds can teach us" and rhapsodizing about their messages isn't working for me. What weeds tell me is that I need to clean the floor (i.e., soil surface) and take out the unwanteds (the weeds; not really "trash," but...).

Here's the definition that I use, and it's not original to me:

A "weed" is a plant that shows up, uninvited, where I don't want it.

One year, in Berkeley, when I was new to composting, I threw all of my kitchen waste into the composter.

The next spring, I spread my compost on the soil where my roses were. About a week to ten days later, there was a thick carpet of green plants about 1/2 inch tall covering the ground. I wasn't quite sure, but thought they looked like tomato plants.

I waited a couple more days, and sure enough, they *were* tomato plants. WEEDS! I didn't want tomato plants growing up through my roses, around my roses, or anywhere near my roses. Rose thorns are bad enough; can you imagine them with tomato vines all over? :shock:

I pulled every one of those probably hundreds of tomato plants out of the ground, roots and all. These went right back into the composter, and I have never thrown tomato seeds into the compost again. My compost, then as now, ran (and runs) too cool to kill tomato seeds--Q.E.D.--so I don't compost them.

I have cleared my space here of most of the following weeds more than once, but the neighbors to our immediate south use a weed-whacker, which means that I'm forever getting new infestations of weeds. Here are the ones I usually deal with, and there is quite a variety, given the small area I have available for growing plants:

--Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) growing through cracks in the pavement => get 'em out with the weed stick and throw 'em into the compost IF they haven't flowered yet.

--Tap-rooted mallow (Malva palviflora) => likewise

--Yellow Star Thistle (Centaurea solstitialis), invasive and noxious pest; message? => not even goats will eat this one after it has flowered. No redeeming value. I dig it out and throw it in the trash.

--Sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus, S. Asper) => dig up and treat as dandelion

--Wild onions (Allium triquetrum, A. vineale) => edible, but my dogs sometimes just run out and start cropping the grass as if they were starving sheep/goats. It's not worth the risk to have wild onion around, so I had to remove them. They all went into the compost.

--Kikuyu grass (Pennisetum clandestinum) => very difficult to eradicate physically; almost as difficult as kudzu, since it likes to grow underneath sidewalks, where it's dark. Invasive and noxious weed, non-native; what message does it give me? (well, besides the one about people not paying attention to "stowaway plants"... :roll: :wink: )

--Common groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) => treat as dandelion

--Redstem filaree (Erodium Cicultarium) => produces needle-like seeds, painful to the touch. tap-rooted weed, use weed stick. Throw in yard waste for city pick-up.

--Burclover (Medicago polymorpha, also called M. hispida) => burrs cling to feet and coats of animals, socks and clothing of people. burrs resemble small clusters of sharp thorns, painful if caught between toes of animals or people (in the summertime). shallow-rooted. City yard waste.

--and tons of Oxalis (Oxalis pes-caprae) => not harmful per se, but will smother veggie seedlings in the early spring, when in full growth, so I get what I can of it and put it in the city yard waste. I can't be sure that I have only stems and leaves and no bulbs, so it doesn't go into the compost.

The consistent messages I've received from these weeds is, "Arrgh! [neighbor] has thrown weeds at me again!" or "Arrgh! I didn't get *all* the tap root last time!" :lol:

Cynthia H.
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I do think this forum would provide some fascinating material for gender studies, the differences between men's posts and women's (when we know which is which) but also attributional gender (when we don't know which is which, when people post under names like soil, garden, but we assume some gender).

I'm somewhere in between on the weed issue. I am a gardener who digs up weeds from the roadside and brings them home (goldenrod, ironweed, queen anne's lace, among others). And I usually let new weeds go at least until I can identify them, to know what I am pulling up.

I like the idea of learning from weeds, what it means about the soil, in theory. In practice, I have found weeds that supposedly grow in alkaline soil and weeds that supposedly grow in acid soil growing right next to each other (the fact that they are weeds indicates that they aren't really very fussy!), so I think that's really less helpful than it sounds.

My hillside is for natives only, so I religiously pull out all the non natives.
My flower beds are for the flowers I planted there, so pretty much I keep them weeded, though as noted, I may leave something until I figure out what it is or as long as it is looking pretty. The lawn is whatever grows there and is green, and we just keep it mowed.

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As the definite manager of housework (whether I work part- or full-time or am too unwell to work outside the house) and the designated weeder and identifier of weeds at this household, I can't help but notice that the philosophers on this thread are, I believe, guys and [warning: social assumption ahead...] thus probably aren't responsible for ensuring that such daily housework and weeding, two very related tasks, get done. (AS just recommended the book; she isn't philosophizing. And, since it's 10:45 p.m. at my house, the housework/laundry are done for today and it's too dark to weed; also way too wet. More rain came today.)
i am the designated weeder here, trust me. and its my job to get it done. there is just a better way than sitting there for hours pulling weeds( specially when half of them are eatable). these weeds are doing you a favor, its just the majority of the world has put it in your brain that they are working against you. a lot of these "weeds" are native to some gardens. and any introduced garden plants can actually be invasive( your tomatoes for example) as long as you keep the weeds in check and follow the right path, the weeds will become less and less. everytime you till the soil, you bring up dormant weed seeds in the soil. so if you pull weeds and you till, your entering a horrible circle of endless work. chop those weeds, use them on spot as mulch, over time you will exhaust all the seeds near the surface, create a nice mulch and increase soil fertility at the same time.

its like the old saying goes

if you cant beat em, join em.
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I don't till. I use Jeavons' double-digging method when I have to, but otherwise my veggies are in raised beds. The roses are in the ground, the lavender is in the ground, and I have two other street-side patches.

Most of the weed invasions, as I stated, come from the neighbor's weed-whacker throwing seeds, roots, what have you from his yard to mine. My southernmost street-side patch gets the most weeds, and as I go north, away from her yard, the number (but not variety) of weeds diminishes.

Yellow Star Thistle is a statewide bane, and kikuyu grass is also an import. I compost the weeds I can (note that, in Berkeley, I also composted the tomato-plant weeds), but not the invasives or harmfuls.

(And, when DH isn't looking, I *have* put young dandelion leaves in amongst the spinach and chard/kale/broccoli leaves we have at dinner.)

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Well Cynthia, your Bay Area liberal halo gas slipped some with your sexist designation of labor. AS the puller of all weeds here (ahem) I have once or twice recruited Rebecca to pull all the dandelions. I am concentrating on one weed at a time and am in the third year of this program. Final year to clear the yard. Did the front year one, half the back last year, and finish this year. Sure there area clean-ups on the other two, and there are still plantain plants (which I could eat or use for bee stings, and tell me I still have compaction issues) or self-heal (Prunella or heal-all, can be used as a tea or as an herbal poultice, and lets me know my soil is likely low in calcium, which agrees with my dandelions). The spot of creeping charlie is telling me it's too fungal in that one spot, but it rips out clean enough, drowns easy, and you CAN eat it (surprising how many you can...)

Most of Cynthia's weeds are taprooted huh? What that might be trying to tell us?

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The Helpful Gardener wrote:Well Cynthia, your Bay Area liberal halo gas slipped some with your sexist designation of labor.
Which is why I gave the warning "Social assumption ahead..." And heaven defend me from being called a liberal. :lol: No partisan politics here, but...I was raised in the military and am still in California because I married a California native who thinks that his "wonderful" state--which has now elected movie stars to the U.S. Senate *and* the governor's seat--is the center of the universe. Me, I love snow, spring, and autumn foliage. Can't deal with too much heat. Hmm...sounds like Denver and Cheyenne, where we lived when I was a kid. I'm probably to the "left" of Cheyenne, but was definitely a misfit in Berkeley.
The Helpful Gardener wrote:Most of Cynthia's weeds are taprooted huh? What that might be trying to tell us?

HG
They're exactly half and half (5 taprooted, 5 shallow). 8) I just didn't bother naming common groundsel, burclover, wild onion, and redstem filaree as shallow-rooted. Elsewhere on THG, though, I've waxed eloquent (?) or at least at great length :wink: about the weed stick being my most essential gardening implement. You've been to Berkeley: are you familiar with California adobe clay? It doesn't take a tap-rooted weed or an unsuccessful carrot/parsnip to let gardeners know that there's clay about 6 inches down...

I *had* conquered the redstem filaree, wild onions, and groundsel in annual campaigns, like you're doing with your own weeds. I was making good progress on the burclover, too, but if just one of those little cluster demons falls to the ground and survives unseen, the whole cycle begins again. However, there *are* fewer of those little vining monsters this year, even after the abundance of rainwater they've received this month. :twisted:

I think the oxalis is just going to be long-term "entertainment." It certainly is having a good time! :roll:

Cynthia

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cynthia_h wrote: It doesn't take a tap-rooted weed or an unsuccessful carrot/parsnip to let gardeners know that there's clay about 6 inches down...

Cynthia
Sounds to me like you need to grow some more weeds! :lol:

Oh and I do housework and pull weeds when needed. :wink:
Last edited by gixxerific on Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Your sourweed (Oxalis) tells me your soil is low in nitrogen. And I'm sorry, Cynthia, living in The People's Republic of Berkely automatically makes you liberal. It's in the by-laws. :P I have lots of family there and AM familiar with the soil there (Beck's Dad overlooks the garden that Alice Waters did with Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, and I've wandered through it a few times. Richie knows Alice and has met Prince Charles and Martha Stewart in the garden (I met the homeless guy who moved into one of the greenhouses). But i got to see plenty of soil.

While the chore aspect does not add value to weeds, it should not overshadow the message that we are doing something wrong in our soil if we have them. Weeds thrive in bacterially dominant soils while our perennials, grasses and food crops all prefer a more fungally balanced soil. Compaction, chemical residues, and a lack of humus make these soils hard to move towards that more ideal situation, but these can be overcome by understanding our soils, plants, and systems, and as Fukuoka-san taught, simply observing. Our weeds speak volumes...

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cynthia_h wrote:As the definite manager of housework (whether I work part- or full-time or am too unwell to work outside the house) and the designated weeder and identifier of weeds at this household, I can't help but notice that the philosophers on this thread are, I believe, guys and [warning: social assumption ahead...] thus probably aren't responsible for ensuring that such daily housework and weeding, two very related tasks, get done. (AS just recommended the book; she isn't philosophizing. And, since it's 10:45 p.m. at my house, the housework/laundry are done for today and it's too dark to weed; also way too wet. More rain came today.)

So the eloquence of "What weeds can teach us" and rhapsodizing about their messages isn't working for me. What weeds tell me is that I need to clean the floor (i.e., soil surface) and take out the unwanteds (the weeds; not really "trash," but...).

Here's the definition that I use, and it's not original to me:

A "weed" is a plant that shows up, uninvited, where I don't want it.

One year, in Berkeley, when I was new to composting, I threw all of my kitchen waste into the composter.

The next spring, I spread my compost on the soil where my roses were. About a week to ten days later, there was a thick carpet of green plants about 1/2 inch tall covering the ground. I wasn't quite sure, but thought they looked like tomato plants.

I waited a couple more days, and sure enough, they *were* tomato plants. WEEDS! I didn't want tomato plants growing up through my roses, around my roses, or anywhere near my roses. Rose thorns are bad enough; can you imagine them with tomato vines all over? :shock:

I pulled every one of those probably hundreds of tomato plants out of the ground, roots and all. These went right back into the composter, and I have never thrown tomato seeds into the compost again. My compost, then as now, ran (and runs) too cool to kill tomato seeds--Q.E.D.--so I don't compost them.

I have cleared my space here of most of the following weeds more than once, but the neighbors to our immediate south use a weed-whacker, which means that I'm forever getting new infestations of weeds. Here are the ones I usually deal with, and there is quite a variety, given the small area I have available for growing plants:

--Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) growing through cracks in the pavement => get 'em out with the weed stick and throw 'em into the compost IF they haven't flowered yet.

--Tap-rooted mallow (Malva palviflora) => likewise

--Yellow Star Thistle (Centaurea solstitialis), invasive and noxious pest; message? => not even goats will eat this one after it has flowered. No redeeming value. I dig it out and throw it in the trash.

--Sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus, S. Asper) => dig up and treat as dandelion

--Wild onions (Allium triquetrum, A. vineale) => edible, but my dogs sometimes just run out and start cropping the grass as if they were starving sheep/goats. It's not worth the risk to have wild onion around, so I had to remove them. They all went into the compost.

--Kikuyu grass (Pennisetum clandestinum) => very difficult to eradicate physically; almost as difficult as kudzu, since it likes to grow underneath sidewalks, where it's dark. Invasive and noxious weed, non-native; what message does it give me? (well, besides the one about people not paying attention to "stowaway plants"... :roll: :wink: )

--Common groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) => treat as dandelion

--Redstem filaree (Erodium Cicultarium) => produces needle-like seeds, painful to the touch. tap-rooted weed, use weed stick. Throw in yard waste for city pick-up.

--Burclover (Medicago polymorpha, also called M. hispida) => burrs cling to feet and coats of animals, socks and clothing of people. burrs resemble small clusters of sharp thorns, painful if caught between toes of animals or people (in the summertime). shallow-rooted. City yard waste.

--and tons of Oxalis (Oxalis pes-caprae) => not harmful per se, but will smother veggie seedlings in the early spring, when in full growth, so I get what I can of it and put it in the city yard waste. I can't be sure that I have only stems and leaves and no bulbs, so it doesn't go into the compost.

The consistent messages I've received from these weeds is, "Arrgh! [neighbor] has thrown weeds at me again!" or "Arrgh! I didn't get *all* the tap root last time!" :lol:

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

Think of me as a wife with a y chromosome. So I am reaposible for housework and food prep in our house. Not sure I am comfortable with the implied accusation of patriarchal sophistry based entirely on my gender. I am looking for a way to reduce work and acquire a skill set.

HG, I had my suspicions the organic lawn care author was your friend. This is really an example of ask and receive. And way more than I expected. Thanks soil et al.
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I figured toil. But it seems the least I can do for a fellow Y chromosomed househubby... :lol:

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More about Weeds

Though I'm new to this forum (or any forum, for that matter), I thought it might be helpful to mention the work of Masanobou Fukuoka. His book, "The Natural Way of Farming" pointed me in the direction of valuing a way of gardening that incoporated the wildness of Nature within a perhaps more orderly structure. Through a move away from mono-culture, he has shown the efficacy of allowing all manner of plants to coexist, with each plant and crop greatly benefitting from the diversity.

After reading the "Weed Book" mentioned in another post, I realized that I have also observed that purslane has indeed been helpful in my home garden. Truly, the plants growing within close proximity to the ever abundant purslane seem to show signs of increased vigor and production.

I also appreciate that the weeds from my garden are also fodder for my compost pile, which, of course, I add before they go to seed.
George Osawa said that in order to create a peaceful world, we need to create peaceful individuals. Connecting with the Earth through gardening organically is a wonderful step in creating peace...within ourselves, other living beings & the planet itself.

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Thanks Grace. Fukuoka-san's book is certainly worthy of reading and his ideas are of benefit to most gardeners...

And that purselane is edible as well...

HG
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Edible weeds

Thank you for responding to my post. Now that I think about it, I would like to mention the edible and medicinal value of many common "weeds". Dandelions, oxalis, thistle, burdock, lamb's quarters, poke and purslane are just a few "wild plants" that offer, not only delicious additions to our meals, but have been used for centuries for their medicnal properties. It is widely understood that these hardy, native plants offer us their hardiness and locally-grown value when we ingest them. As gratifying as organic gardening is, I find that gathering and eating these "weeds" to be equally as gratifying.
George Osawa said that in order to create a peaceful world, we need to create peaceful individuals. Connecting with the Earth through gardening organically is a wonderful step in creating peace...within ourselves, other living beings & the planet itself.

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THE MEANING OF WEEDS

Hi Toil,

They know, they just know where to grow, how to dupe you, and how to camouflage themselves among the perfectly respectable plants, they just know, and therefore, I've concluded weeds must have brains. ~ Dianne Benson, Dirt, 1994

There is such a shameful lack of understanding regarding weeds. I attribute it to chemical company propaganda that demonizes them as 'the enemy'. Yet, if understood, they are helpful gardening friends which will dutifully obey a knowledgeable gardener.

A worthwhile book on the subject is free at this address: Weeds
Guardians of the Soil https://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/weeds/WeedsToC.html

Have you kissed your weeds today?

Les

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THAT'S what I'm talking about... :D

Thanks for the links Les

S
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les that link is on page one of this thread. but well worth the double post :)
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(working full-time again this week; drive-by post)

Masanobu Fukuoka, 1914 - 2009
"The One-Straw Revolution"
please see discussion so named here at THG: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10059

Cynthia

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cynthia_h wrote:(working full-time again this week; drive-by post)

Masanobu Fukuoka, 1914 - 2009
"The One-Straw Revolution"
please see discussion so named here at THG: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10059

Cynthia
It appears that the online reference for "One Straw Revolution" has been removed from that link. Too Bad.

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Although I'm still finding hits on on-line search for an ebook, I think this is why you can't get it anymore from scribd:
https://www.onestrawrevolution.net/ wrote:The seminal natural farming and permaculture book The One-Straw Revolution, by Masanobu Fukuoka, was published by Rodale Press in 1978.

In June 2009, The New York Review of Books republished the English language translation in celebration of it's 30th Anniversary.


I kind of agree with HG's assessment (I think he said this in another thread in the Permaculture Forum) that the core-concept of Permaculture is becoming skewed. It's also becoming awfully like a private club and a fad (with secret handshakes and everything... :>) That's why I can't really find the good in the republication especially since MF's heirs aren't continuing his work at all they say (so why should they make money off of his life's dream?) But maybe I'm being unfair. -- Still, I kind of liked it better when dedicated folks were sharing the out-of-print book all over the world....

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I actually had an online chat with the books translator, Larry Korn last week and was somewhat dissappointed by his responses to specific scientific inquiry on Fukuoka-sans no-till-ever edict (I asked about highly fungal soils in relations to food crops that prefer a balanced F:B ratio, and whether the redcution of fungal mass from tilling wouldn't be beneficial in this instance). Larry very politlely chided me for thinking too much about science, and how Fukuoka had made it clear science was not the answer to good soil management, and wound up with an analogy about how technology was talking about colonizing the moon or Mars, but did we really want to live there?

:?

Fukuoka-san often talked about observation being the core of his method, but I was always told the core of science is simply making the best possible observation you can. How these two have diverged is a bit of a mystery to me, but I think it stems from Fukuoka-sensei's railing against the scientific mores of his period, when better living through chemicals was the norm.

Just having read Mr. Cocannouer's book on weeds, I would say there were contemporaries and indigenes that supported Fukuoka-san's observations; this eventually has led to people doing scientific study in support of these whole system theories. But rather than strengthening permaculture by verifying and adopting this new science, there seems to be a fundamentalist avoidance of any facts that might not dovetail seamlessly with Sensei's masterwork. Some of what I have seen in place of scientific fact around the American permacultural circles is disturbiing in its complete divergence from known fact; I do not know enough yet to determine if this is an American phenomenon ro goes right to the international heart of this artform.

But I will not disparage Fukuoka's book, and still recommend everybody read it; he espoused an ideal and methodology that both make a great deal of sense to me. That same core of sound thought permeates all of permaculture; I feel comfortable adopting most techniques it offers and still find a value to the general thinking I find there. But the movement does itself a diservice by adopting the crass commercialism of branding and marketing, and even less good springs from blind adoption of even Fukuoka's pronouncements, when not supported by scientific observation, for in the end it is still just observation.

Open minded discussion and experimentation will gather far better results than rote repetition of an aging paradigm; a given for ANY endeavor or school of thought. I have yet to meet an infallible human and do not expect to; it could well be my opinion will be shattered by new findings and exonerate the permaculture movement's adamant positions on all fronts. Such is the nature of scientific discourse; new facts become available, and old ones get discarded. Such is life.

But read the book...

HG
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Well not sure it applies, but on dr ingham's site she mentions that to balance growth you increase food sources for the deficient organisms. So for too few bacteria they recommend molasses and such.

But the scenario above is not mentioned specifically.
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Right, another way to go about it toil, a slow methodical but eventually effective way. My way would be pretty instant and while there would be some compaction from tilling, in a fully fungal soil it would be minimal. (The tendency of a fungal soil will be to stay fungal through weak acid reactions, and the natural tendency of soil to succeed to fungal dominance)

I'm not a big fan of tilling; there are usually groans whenever I tell people to sell their tillers. My disagreement is with any rule that says NEVER; those are almost always a bad idea. My concern here was not so much with methodology but ideology...

HG
Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Scott Reil

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Makes sense to me HG.

I just wanted to throw it out there, since I read it.

Hey, could that heavily fungal soil make a good inoculant? Call it tera shrooma...
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The Cocannouer book has been dogging me all day. I have been re-examining my relationship to weeds. What if when you started to get a fungally dominated soil, you planted weeds? They favor an even more bacterial soil than veggies or grasses do, and will colonize almost any soil. You could use lamb's quarters or other indigenous weed to balance the fungal ratio, break compaction, and harvest another food crop in the mix... ([url=https://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=CHAL7]Chenopodium [/url]was the grain crop for tribes around here before corn showed up, and a darned fine pot herb too).

Cocannouer talks about Pawnee harvesting weeds from their tilled fields, raising them noext to corn. He talks about his own early experience of leaving "pulsely", or [url=https://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Purslane.html]purselane[/url] around corn and watching it out perform weeded rows in droughts, how these shielded the soil from heat and sun, broke through the crust but didn't compete with the deeper roots of the corn. NAtive agriculture all over the planet uses weeds to reinvigorate the soil. All these plants want a far more bacterial soil and will compete like nobody's business.

So maybe there is a no-till method to change the F:B. after all.
:idea:)

Weeds.

I think I need a minute here...

HG
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Think if you muss I need to take a bath and stop thinking for a minute. My heads spinning I have been reading 4 different books lately, at the same time ( well not all at the same moment in time that would be hard) and following this and some of your other threads do you ever stop. Please don't I love it.

I went to Home Depot today to check out their gardening section, while looking over the seeds I was actually hoping I would see Purslane. See what you guy's did to me.

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This is really good news for a lazy gardener like me. :>

HG, if you decide to go intentionally growing specific weeds, you may run into a problem that I experienced last year: Ever since I learned to differentiate between edible and not so edible weeds, I've tried to leave the edible weeds growing in the garden. Well, last summer, I waited and waited for purslane to start taking over like they usually do -- but to my complete disappointment, I only had a few of them grow -- in between the patio bricks and a few more alongside container plants.

Also, if you remember, I let a couple of giant red pigweed grow out and harvested their seeds back in '08. There is NO WAY I managed to harvest all the seeds without letting them fall to the ground. But last year, I only had a handful or dozen or so seeds grow up in either of the locations where the mother plants had grown. :?

It seems I managed to turn around the soil conditions that allowed purslane and pigweed to flourish previously without even meaning to.... :roll:

On the other hand, if you're going to let the weeds choose where to grow, well... :wink:

What I'm saying is you may have to start saving weed seeds so you can choose and direct where you want them to *try* to grow. :P Alternatively, you could try growing cultivated selections/varieties rather than their wild cousins. :idea:

Hah! Funny! :lol: Gixx got in ahead of me with a "case in point" :lol: Gixx, they do sell culinary purslane seeds. One is called Golden Purslane, but there are others, usually found among the gourmet salad greens.

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Excellent, sourcing for a known beneficial intercrop food weed...

Although if you are cultivating it, and eating it, is it still a weed?

I need to think another minute :lol:

HG
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Apple I did have some purslane growing last year, of it's own though. I actually found out what it was on here. I had been pulling it. But after I heard what you guy's were saying about it I let it go. It really is not a bad plant, yeah that's right I called it a plant not a weed. 8) We shall see if it comes back probably not, my soil is much different now.

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I like this definition, from Dr. Ingham (too much Ingham? I'm gonna anger her rivals) (purslane does not qualify really):



The word weed has been used too generally in recent times, so let’s agree that by weed, we mean something that requires high nitrate levels, poor soil structure, that produces huge numbers of seeds that disperse far and wide.
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Efficient dispersal mechanisms do seem to be a key feature to weeds.

But what if we use weeds phenologically to pick the best time to knock them back, say just before thistle flowers (as those can be really prolific and tough to eradicate). Mowing, rolling, disc harrow; turn them back into soil; sheet compost them. Those deep tapped ones bring up the soil nutrients form the subsoil, the shallower ones shield the soil and stop erosion.

I cannot get past the competition for nutrients mentality I have been raised with. I can see how they would help in many respects (cannot argue with Cocannouer's logic and examples), but I am having a hard time with the transition. This is NOT going to be easy... :|

HG
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oh hey gix, before I forget:

Johnny's seeds has some purslane I think, that produces more food.

And I bet you down there in Fla is a great place for salsola soda I bet. That stuff will pull the sodium out of your soil, and tastes amazing.

HG, I wouldn't abandon competition yet.

[url]https://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/10/science/10plant.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=sea%20rocket&st=cse[/url]
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