Weeds

Weeds are the scourge of gardeners and farmers. If you think about it though, weeds are plants that we haven’t figured out a use for yet. I wonder if the predecessors of wheat and barley were considered to be pesky weeds in the gardens and fields of early Palestinian, Anatolian, and Syrian farmers as they began to domesticate those two crops?

In Iowa we have weeds like waterhemp, foxtail, button weed, pigweed, morning glory, canada thistle, and horse weed that plague our gardens and fields. What is the problem? There are three problems: sunshine, moisture and nutrients. That is, the weeds compete for all three with the crops and vegetables that we are trying to grow.

In July, I went out to my sweet potato bed and found a mess. In the photo you can see how much of a mess.. Thirty minutes later I had pulled all the weeds in one bed by hand. These two photos illustrate my point above.

Weedy sweet potatoes

Weedy sweet potatoes

Thirty minutes later I had hand-pulled all the weeds.

Thirty minutes later I had hand-pulled all the weeds.

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