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Re: RE: Misplaced Plants in the Garden, Round-Up story

  • Subject: Re: [cg] RE: Misplaced Plants in the Garden, Round-Up story
  • From: scolli@columbus.rr.com
  • Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2003 19:09:53 -0400

It's funny that you speak of Round-Up, Don, because this little story
happened to me today:  I drove home from work for a quick lunch, and as I
drove up to my apartment, a woman with a back pack sprayer was walking
through my teeny-tiny garden.  My garden:  about 4 X 8 with 4 Brandywine
tomatoes, a couple of Husky Gold cherry tomatoes, mucho peppers hot & sweet,
a couple of flowers. Adjacent on my patio I have alotta containers with
tomatoes, eggplants, herbs and other ziggy plants. It is windy.  (it always
is here)  My garden is mulched with thick compost, at least 4 if not 6
inches.  So far, 2 weeds have sprung up--both about 2-3 inches high.  One
pigweed and one smartweed.  I actually saw her spray one of the teensy
weeds.  I flipped out, as I rushed out of my car, because I knew what she
was doing!!  I confronted her and she knew she was wrong, and apologized
profusely, and told me that she would tell her husband also not to spray my
weeds (they have a contract to spray weeds at this apartment).  Who knows if
she sprayed my other garden plants?  Why would a person do something like
this?  What was she thinking (or not thinking)?

I know Round-Up is a widely accepted herbicide.  I know that the Nature
Conservancy in NW Ohio uses it routinely in their endeavor to save the
endangered ecosystem there.  I know I can stop these people from spraying my
my little spot in the world, but there hasn't been enough thought put into
our actions, guess that's my point.

Also, I wet the newspapers first so they don't blow away...you can also
spray them with water after you put them down if there is any wind (which
there could be on a pre-planned planting day with a lot of volunteers).
Never use straw without newspapers as it contains lots of weed and wheat
seeds and will be worse than if you didn't mulch at all.

My definition of a weed:  a plant that lives in a disturbed environment.
They are adapted to take advantage of sunlight (being dug up), and grow and
set seed very fast, or have stolons or rhizomes that break off and create
new plants when you pull them.

Shelly Collins
Mt. Vernon, Ohio

----- Original Message -----
From: "Don Boekelheide" <dboekelheide@yahoo.com>
To: <LTanenb50@aol.com>; <community_garden@mallorn.com>
Sent: Friday, July 25, 2003 3:10 PM
Subject: Re: [cg] RE: Misplaced Plants in the Garden


> Hi, all,
>
> Laurie, you raise a good point, weeds can compete with
> crops for water and light and to some extent for
> nutrients as well, especially when veggie seedlings
> are emerging. That's a reason I let weed seedlings
> sprout for several days after preparing a bed, then
> knock them back (skim them with a hula hoe) just
> before planting.
>
> My feeling, though, is that with the exception of
> invasive exotic weeds and persistent garden pests
> (bermudagrass being my least favorite), most
> 'problems' with weeds in our area _are_ indeed
> cosmetic! True, we get 1200mm (48 in) plus rain a year
> - the situation might be very different in more arid
> regions.
>
> My observations here are that 'problem' weeds often
> occur in places and times where they are not competing
> directly with crop plants in community gardens.
> Examples are neglected and abandoned beds, when beds
> are left bare after vegetables are harvested, along
> fencelines and edges well away from beds, in paths and
> in 'unclaimed' zones around the garden margins. In
> unused beds and other such spots, especially on
> sloping land, a cover crop is the best idea, followed
> by mulch, but I still strongly feel weeds are far
> superior to bare soil (on condition that you don't
> allow them to set seed). My reasoning comes from
> research I did for my thesis on nitrogen use
> efficiency. The greatest losses of N occur when there
> is no plant growing to 'fix' N and incorporate it into
> biomass. With different mechanisms, the same holds for
> other nutrients such as P and K.
>
> Within planted beds, I think you are right, Laurie,
> you must control weeds. Common sense to me. There are
> those who dispute this (Fukuoka) based on reasonable
> arguments from plant ecology. After all, if we
> 'companion plant' to create a symbiotic effect, can't
> we do the same with managed weeds in our beds? I'm not
> willing to just let weeds take over, but I'll admit I
> don't worry much about a shallow rooted ground hugging
> outbreak of chickweed in my winter cabbage patch.
>
> The silent shadow looming over this discussion, of
> course, is chemical weed control, usually using
> 'Round-up'. Given a weed outbreak, Laurie, would your
> garden opt for control with a chemical program, or can
> you keep things in good shape with cultural controls?
> Do other folks use Round-up or other herbicides
> routinely in their community gardens for weed control?
>
>
> In our case, we are under a fair amount of pressure to
> keep things 'tidy', but usually manage without
> Round-up. The two exceptions are with poison ivy in
> areas where kids play and when a Sheriff's 'crew' is
> sent in to defoliate a very overgrown hill
> (honeysuckle, multiflora rose, Ailanthus - man, what a
> jungle, great for drug deals...) behind a garden at a
> homeless day program. Actually, it's Round-up plus a
> Bush Hog.
>
> Meanwhile, since I'm a backer of having all kinds of
> people in a community garden, including folks on the
> margins, I guess I'm consistent when it comes to plant
> diversity - even a place for weeds <:)!
>
> Don Boekelheide
> Charlotte, NC
>
> --- LTanenb50@aol.com wrote:
> > A thought on weeds in the garden. Weeds compete with
> > whatever your trying to
> > grow for available nuitrients and water - If they
> > were only beneficial for
> > water conservation then the weed issue would only be
> > a cosmetic one.
> >
> > Laurie Tanenbaum
> > Grounds For Growth
> > 773-489-0167
> >
>
>
> ______________________________________________________
> The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of
ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to
find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org
>
>
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>
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>



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