Managing weeds is one of the most time-consuming tasks on our farm. Even in a smaller backyard garden, weeds can quickly get out of control, particularly at this time of year when the warm weather, sun and rain provide perfect growing conditions. On a farm like ours, it’s virtually impossible to eliminate them.
‘Weed’ has become a dirty word but a weed is really just a plant that is growing where we don’t want it to. In fact, weeds are pretty amazing plants! They are the pioneers of the botanical world and are quick to occupy environments that are empty or underutilised. In many cases, weeds can use and exploit micronutrients in the soil that are inaccessible to other plants, including our veggie crops.
Industrial farms use chemical herbicides to try to control weeds. As a regenerative and permaculture-based farm, we accept that we will always share our space with weeds, and we take a strategic approach to managing them.
In newly planted market gardens, we spend a lot of time and effort weeding so seedlings can grow and become established. By hoeing the soil, disturbing the weed roots, and leaving them to decompose in place, our veggies can benefit from their former competitors by accessing the nutrients they once held.
As market gardens reach maturity and become less productive, we let the weeds go more and more. They offer many benefits at this stage too, by protecting the soil from moisture loss and erosion, as well as feeding the bees with their flowers. When we’re ready to start the cycle again, we first in let the goats and sheep, followed by the pigs, to have a feast and leave their manure, thereby regenerating and enriching the soil for future crops.
The wild and diverse nature of our farm is intentional and about as different from conventional farms as you can get. Permaculture principles tell us to ‘Use and Value Diversity’ and ‘Integrate, don’t Segregate’. By embracing weeds as part of our integrated system, we reap the many benefits they offer.
Fair Food Coordinator
In your box:
Note: We sometimes need to make changes to what we pack in your veg box based on the quantity or quality of produce that we can harvest and source. If you have any questions about what is in your box, don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected].
Did you know?
Radishes are members of the Brassicaceae family, which includes kale, broccoli, cauliflower and horseradish, to name a few. They are very versatile and can be used in salads, mains and sides – whether cooked or fresh! You can pickle radishes to keep them for longer and these go nicely on top of avocado toast! Otherwise, chopping radish finely can help hide this veg from fussy eaters in cooked meals as well as salads.