Laurie Garretson: What about those weeds? | Home And Garden | – Victoria Advocate


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As a gardener, have you ever wondered what role weeds play in nature?A few centuries ago, many vegetable crops were considered weeds. Today, some types of weeds are used for erosion control, animal feed, habitats and soil-building. Many ranchers take advantage of certain weeds on their land and use them as feed for cattle, sheep, goats and other livestock.Weeds, especially non-native weeds, can plague all types of gardens. Weed seeds can sometimes be found in store-bought plant containers or be blown into your flowerbeds on windy days. There are methods you can take to at least minimize weeds in your yards and gardens.Over the years, many great minds in agriculture have discovered different ways to manage weed problems. They now actually find some weeds as beneficial helpers in showing what is right or wrong with your soil, which could be encouraging certain weed problems. Weed management should now be called soil management.By analyzing weed and soil types, agriculturalists came up with weed and soil fertility requirements, which could then help to eliminate weeds. Having examined weed and soils chemical make ups, helped agriculturalist to devise fertility requirements that, together with organic soil building processes, could eliminate weeds. Many times healthy soil research is at the base of weed research.Healthy soils, loaded with microorganisms, provide a balanced supply of healthy organisms. The lack of microbial life in our soils can then result in weed problems.Over the years, there have been changes in the ways in which we control weeds. Solarization is a technique that uses energy from the sun during hot summer days to kill off weeds. Another solution that’s been shown to work well as a pre-emergent is a thin dusting of corn gluten meal applied before the weed seeds germinate. Gluten meal also supplies some nitrogen.In short, the least toxic way to combat weeds is to have a well-balanced, microbial-active soil.Until next time, let’s try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to [email protected] or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.
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