dan long wrote:I am having a hard time wrapping my head around this. Do weeds compete for: moisture, nutrients or light? I'm sure your going to tell me "all three" but...
dan long wrote:
Lots of permies advocate living mulches to conserve moisture. If plants compete for water, wouldn't this have the opposite effect of conserving water?
dan long wrote:
People still weed around their beans and peas. These both fix their own nitrogen, so weeding would be unnecessary, wouldn't it?
dan long wrote:
It almost seems to me that light is the only thing they really compete for so long as there is abundant water and nutrients in the soil. However, others on this board have warned that using dutch white clover as living mulch would be a bad idea because it is too aggressive. Dutch white would: cover the ground all but completely thus retaining soil moisture, fix its own nitrogen thus not competing for nutrients and grows so low that it wouldn't compete for light if disturbed before receiving transplants or seeds.
When we say that certain plants are too aggressive, what exactly do they do that is so antagonistic to our vegetables?
When I plant my garlic I do so at much larger spacing (minimum 7 inches, up to 9 or 10 inches) than is recommended and practiced by most people-and I get massive, super healthy garlic, but I do allow those weeds which I don't feel compete too much for light, and in the case of clover provide nitrogen, and which in the case of dandelion, reach down with a taproot. My beds are built and planted with peas, and besides harvesting things like potatoes and garlic, are left minimally disturbed. Carrots and beets have a very low tolerance for weed competition, especially when young. Once they are half grown, I let some of the chickweed do it's cover crop mulching over my mulch, but not much else. I've had the roots of Canada Thistle spear through and ruin market potatoes-one of the reasons for zero tolerance on this plant.
my experience is that wider spacing leads to higher productivity.
I just have learned that I can be selective about which weeds to allow, and still get production. It is a constantly evolving process. After reading Eric K's post, I am further encouraged to plant some melons into my weedy feral field, and to try out inter-planting in my clovers.
All weeds are not created equal
Jotham Bessey wrote:this is all to much info and techy stuff for me. I just collected all the compost material from 12 beds (3 foot by 10 foot) and the paths between, the stuff that was high enough to bother with that is. Took me two hours.
What!? Weeds is what those things are called?! oh. I call them names like nutrient accumulators, cover crops, free mulch.
Anyway I just pulled most of them from the paths and the ones over topping the veggies. pulled up more where they were thick around the veggies. The patch looks tidy and cared for again now.
It was a month since I weeded it last.
My "lawn" is full of those things. More cover crops and nutrient accumulators than grass. I cut the lawn and put the clippings where I need mulch. lessens the amount of "weeds" popping up in my garden beds.
Besides if I'm going to worry about getting every last weed I'd be the all day and have my last intact nerve frayed!