Weeds As Messengers – Part 2

“Most people think along the same lines of KILL KILL as in conventional agriculture. I want them to look at WHY the weeds are there and what they are telling them – and how they are trying to help!! Then get some soil tests to see what is going on. Cheryl Kemp

2. Some weeds or herbs are Mineral Accumulators

Often weeds are seen as a problem rather than beneficial to the land. Many weeds and herbs are known to be mineral accumulators and are very important to the ongoing health of the soil. These weeds and herbs often grow naturally in an area as they are able to bring in the missing nutrients for that area.

Examples are Tobacco Bush, Privet, Blackberries, Phytolacca (Ink Weed), Lantana.. Many of these live happily at the edge of forest areas that have been cleared. This is because in our phosphate poor soils, these plants are able to accumulate phosphorus from the atmosphere and they also attract bird life (bird droppings are high in phosphorus) with their berries. (as well as spread berries)

Solutions:

You will have to mechanically remove these woody weeds if they are a bother, and then pepper the area with the weed peppers (see later) to stop germination of new plants.

To increase the phosphorus levels of the soils, so that other grasses and plants can grow there, make a Biodynamic weed tea ferment by placing the weeds to fill a 200 litre drum, topping up with water, adding a set of Biodynamic Compost Preparations (502-507) and stir daily as you leave it to ferment for 8-10 weeks. Once fermented, drench the land at 1 litre weed tea in 50 litres water/ha. This eliminates the need for the weed to be there and balances out local trace element deficiencies.

Some of these weeds/herbs are also great green matter for your compost heaps. They can be put through the wood chipper and added to the compost. So remember to appreciate the great job these weeds/herbs are doing.

*Ref. Cheryl Kemp Biodynamic Advisor