Saturday, July 9, 2011

Let go and let the weeds grow!

"Weeds are just plants whose virtues have not been discovered."

"Weeds are just plants in places we don't want them."

Two probable misquotes from a couple people, or just two old sayings that hold true in my heart.

Seems to be the topic of conversation and back breaking work these days.


When I think of weeds I think of strong plants that adapt to their environment; often in places where people do not want them.


I remember teaching a class of delinquent high school students in 1998. They were a group of kids no one wanted to have anything to do with, so they were given to the long-haired hippie teacher who could have a bit of patience with them, but were going to be cast aside none the less. He called me in to take them on a weed walk. I walked them around the school yard showing them the different weeds that they could use for health, wounds, sleep, depression... I explained to them that they are like weeds of the school system. Cast off with no purpose, but still they had many gifts to give to those who were wise enough to listen.


And then there were the times in Montana I viciously dueled with the cowboys about the value of st. john's wort. Billboards proclaiming "The War On Weeds" dotted the landscape while friends of mine fresh out of their resource management courses would get work for the United States Forest Service pulling up this weed. The same weed on which folks in the cities spend millions of dollars to curb their depression. Instead those neophytes rounded up the plants and ignited them.


Aster, clover, dandelion, goldenrod.
All delicious food for the three hives I have on the City Green Farm at Schultheis.
"Weeds!" they proclaim, with disdain for me and the organization that the farm is a part of. "Cut down those weeds!" It is a simple cry of ignorance. While I understand wholeheartedly the problems weeds can present (I am a farmer after all), I do wish to step up here and educate people about the virtues of plants that have been demonized by, ahem, corporations that stand to make money from you not wanting plants like, let's say, dandelion, growing in your pristine lawn.

In case you haven't noticed, habitat for insects and critters is disappearing. (The bees are dying!). Pesticides are over-used (often by unknowing homeowners), running into our waters and soils, poisoning not only the critters, but also ourselves. The latest greatest is that Scotts® has developed--and the USDA is allowing--GM lawns that are resistant to Monsanto Roundup! OMG! Now you can spray even MORE Roundup on your grass! Green grass at everyone's expense!


The toxic enemy.

The deep tap roots of dandelion and yellow dock will pull up nutrients from the depths of the soil and offer it to the surrounding plants. They aerate the soil and offer habitat and food for earth-loving worms. Nature knows balance; corporations do not. When will we stop being sheep to the slaughter of their greed? When will we wake up and allow the wisdom of the plant world to rattle us a bit and feed all of our senses?

Common Sense
Poison on the ground is poison in our food
Poison in the water is poison in our veins
Do not wonder why cancer is prevalent!
Do not wonder why allergies are everywhere!
Open up to the reality that clinging to the notion of control is killing the very essence of life.
Let go and let the weeds grow!


Marcia said...

a woman after my own heart !! I so agree with you, when teaching beekeeping I always stress the importance of leaving these plants in your lawn or create a wild patch - it is hard to convince most people tho !

JR said...

You taught me this years ago that nature did not intend for us to have those pristine green grass only lawns. Who came up with that concept anyway???? Its a tough sell in this commercially driven country but we try spreading the word.

shaun said...

Always right on point Tammy. One day people will learn it is easier to have weeds and beautiful plants in your lawn then to spray chemicals and use lawn mowers every week.