Where possible, we leave weeds onsite to; let them to rot down as compost, smother existing weeds, and to save you labour and costs in removing them. Anything we can do to improve the soil’s structure and microbe population is a win.
Here’s how you can reuse organic matter (anything that once grew) and save yourself effort and money.
Learn to identify the pest, or invasive plants, (ideally when they are small) versus the less nasty weeds that will curl up and die without a fight.
It’s fine to leave the less nasty weeds on top of garden beds or around plants to rot down to improve the soil, which helps hold water and nutrients on your land.
A different approach is needed for the baddies, those that reproduce like crazy using a variety of cunning tricks. For these, you can:
To identify pest plants see Weedbusters.
Pests in Wellington region and more general info see, Greater Wellington Regional Council Pest Plants.
We've been sowing seeds for green manure crops where there are garden beds not being used or areas where customers are deciding what to plant.
Bare soil invites weeds to make themselves at home, and when it rains, valuable soil and water wash away taking nutrients with them.
Benefits of covered soil
There are many reasons to sow a green manure crop. To:
Before cover crops seed
Cut them down or pull them out before they go to seed. Use the stems as mulch or dig it into the soil to rot down and release nutrients for the next crop and improve soil structure.
What to sow
Diversity is the way to go. Each plant has its own benefits, from attracting beneficial insects, to adding specific nutrients to the soil.
Include your cover crop in your vege crop rotation plan. Ie don’t grow plants of the same family after each other.
In winter, we have oats and legumes (nitrogen fixers) such as beans, lupins and various types of peas. There’s also winter-hardy salad crops, such as corn salad and miner’s salad (Claytonia).
Experiment with what works in your area and with your soil. You’ve got a lot to gain and very little to lose.