Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

There is an old discussion on Weeds back in 2009.  This is a reply to that discussion, that seems appropriate to me.

Reply by Scarlett on July 29, 2009 at 22:34

I think of them as band-aids for the earth. You very rarely see empty earth in nature. They usually move in to stabilise a disturbance event - like the removal of vegetation.

So if we have a weed problem, it's probably because of a plant deficiency. It's just a question of using natural succession processes to get rid of the undesirable opportunist and replace it with whatever you do want.

Natural succession is generally flat weeds, tap root weeds, leafy weeds, small bushes, leguminous trees, drought tolerant trees, other trees. You can use this to out-do whatever type of weed you have. Plant native raspberries on spurge, plant wattle trees in lantana, shade out vines with more trees (this one can be a hard battle with choker vines) etc. The only exception is weedy rain-forest type species - these need to be cut out :(

My front yard was a mass of whiteroot, but I've just been planting into holes in it and it's almost all gone now. I've not dug it up or poisoned it once.

Yes, imagine if vegetables were like apex species - it would be fantastic! Broccoli forests :)

The food forest uses this idea - I love sophisticated plantings like this. It's the whole basis behind permaculture really - using natural proceses for human habitat.

Wherever possible I use chop and drop for weeds - returns the nutrients, suppresses seedlings. Obviously doesn't work for cobbler's pegs :) (although sometimes i chop all the seeds in half with my fingernails and then do it)
After looking for info on weeds- the pro's and cons, I came across this SITE
unfortunately it is 80 odd pages of Escapees near the Sydney region.  It was a little scary as I have so many of those plants in my back yard, which makes me think - are we going overboard with labelling some of these plants as a possible invasive.
Share your views on this subject if you have any.

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I'm not pro weed at all and I don't subscribe to natural succession in the vegetable garden.

There are many plants that can be deployed to cover the soil. Many unfortunately aren't perennial. But I'm sure there is a botanical niche on offer for every backyard address. You just have to find it.

I think ground cover live mulching is the ultimate companion planting system.

I should add that the perspective I'm working on includes Vetiver Grass both as a source of dry mulch and as a in bed soil enhancer.

Vetiver is the ultimate soil enhancer but it isn't a 'ground cover'.

Exactly Dave, Vetiver is a good plant for many of us to utilise.  

We have noticed that we have a few termites under some old logs in the back, if we had chooks we wouldn't have that problem so we have spread some teatree mulch over the bare ground and near these prone spots and hopefully when it rains the water from that mulch will deter them.  I could have easily used some teatree oil from the melaleuca tree, in water and have a similar effect on the termites.  

As we are getting older, we don't want to be pulling out weeds, so dry mulch works for us.  I know green mulch may work better, and we have done that when we were younger. The dry TT mulch is mainly used in the pathways through the garden.   

Chop and drop and using the  mulcher allows that green stuff to go back to the plants. 

One thing I have noticed is that we don't seem to rely on our big aerobin for mulch. It works well but as  hubby is the worker/feeder in the yard we don't seem to get the ratio of green to dry brown stuff right. 

So to summarise, we use dry mulch rather than living mulch to keep us going at this stage.  For a younger gardener, I would highly recommend using any green living mulch.


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Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

GrowVetiver is a plant nursery run by Dave & Keir Riley that harvests and grows Vetiver grass for local community applications and use. It is based in Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, Australia.

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