Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Call me Crazy - Weeding

Call me crazy but I like weeding my garden. I don't like mowing, weed-eating, or digging out rows. But weeding? Once the bed is established, the soil is dark and loose, and moist, I find weeding from hands and knees with my trusty one piece spade (bought for $5.00 at Tractor Supply - see My Favorite Tools from 2010 or thereabouts) in one hand slightly lifting the soil while the other hand rips the invader out, leaving it in the walk way to compete/kill the weeds we let grow between beds.

There is no more satisfying an experience than the smell of good soil, the moist feeling of dirt in one's hands, and the quiet "tear" sound as the weed's roots are ripped from their place among my vegetables, leaving a clean, orderly row of edibles.

I am reminded of Michael Pollan's Book "Second Nature, a Gardener's Education" wherein he discusses the middle ground between letting things grow completely wild (we would all starve to death or be a lot thinner) and taming the earth brutally with foreign turfs, herbicides, and compulsive mowing.

That Middle Ground is in between the extremes - a place for nature being nature and a place for man carving out his little bit for those nutrients he needs as well. Afterall, a weed, is just a plant, that we have not found a use for. At Shamrock and Thistle Farm we are beginning an experiment in permaculture where portions of the property are allowed to grow wild. When the rose hedges bloom, I'll post pictures of the bird sanctuary we have established.

When it comes to my garden, weeds also have their place. And when I give up hope I remember Mr. Pollan's encouragement.

Every time I pull a weed, I am cooperating with nature, not subduing it. I am aerating the soil as the weed's roots are pulled from the ground; I am allowing nature's bounty room to breath and grow; and I am free.

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