jueves, 28 de mayo de 2009

friends in low places

Weeds have such a bad name. as in, bad reputation. There is an entire industry bent on killing, removing, destroying, eradicating weeds, the unwelcome guests at every garden party. And i admit, i was amongst the ranks of such weed-haters not so long ago. Encroaching on my precious cultivated beds, pesky, sometimes spikey persistent invadors! i diligently plucked every eager weed that dare to sprout in my garden plot.
proof: me and my bare soil garden last fall

However, thanks to the kind advice of more experienced farmers than I, my eyes have been opened.
A weed by any other name, is MULCH:

Allowing weeds to sprout up around your crops creates a groundcover that holds in moisture (note: this applies to weeds of shorter stature than your desired crops) even if it does tend to look a little messy.
and when it is necessary to pull tall weeds, use them as regular MULCH, like i did here around mis melones:
All decomposing plant matter contains nutrients, so why not recycle unwanted plants?

And most impressively, weeds can act as CROP TRAPPINGS, as with my papaya sapling:
There are plants out there that are intended to bait pests, thus protecting the farmer's prized crops. in this case, a volunteer crop trapper showed up near my papaya--what a trooper! Not sure what plant it is, but i believe it's the same valiant fall guy pictured here with a baby tomato plant, again taking all the hits so that my cultivated baby can survive:
i guess it's tasty? The tiny round bites suggest an insect pest, though i have also found large jagged nibbles of the rabbit-mouth variety.
Keep up the good work, mis amigos!

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If you have a lot of free time and have a land to work on, grow your own vegetable garden, they are more organic and far more fresh.