Oh, they do, all right. They do. They provideThe Helpful Gardener wrote:
Cynthia, knowing of your appreciation for the work of Fukuoka-san, I am surprised by your abbhorance of weeds.
Seems they might provide more than lessons..."Weeds play their part in building soil fertility and in balancing the biological community. As a fundamental principle, weeds should be controlled, not eliminated."
From the Third Principle of Natural Farming
The One Straw Revolution
1) toxins which cause Heinz-body anemia, fatal to dogs b/c it makes the blood too thick to circulate [wild onions],
2) burrs which torment my dogs' feet and legs [burclover],
3) stickers which can get into their toes and noses [redstem filaree],
4) foxtails (grass awns, look like wild oats on steroids) which have barbs and skin-weakening enzymes, so they can enter the skin and make their way to vital organs [foxtail], and
5) multiple other "benefits."
I haven't really waged a campaign of elimination vs. the mallow or oxalis b/c they don't threaten the dogs as far as I can tell; they're just annoying.
Which is why my specific sequence of weed extirpation was chosen: the most threatening weeds (remember: unwanted plant in unwanted location!) went first. And the bodies of these weeds--the non-seed-bearing parts--often go into the compost, so all the nutrients are not lost. But the dogs are outside with me when I work in the garden, and I don't want to worry about their safety with regard to the plants.
OTOH, the safety of all of us is threatened by the use of such products as Roundup, esp. in the hands of householders who don't read the label instructions and for whom "more is better." I live with one such, so these products cannot live here. I'm also a migraineur, and anything with VOCs in it is an instant migraine trigger. Another reason not to have such garden chemicals around.