Wednesday, September 2, 2015

What is a weed?

A weed is a plant growing in a cultivated area that wasn't planted or intended by the farmer.

So a corn plant growing in a soybean field is a weed and arugula growing in the spinach patch is a weed.

Modern agriculture uses very strong and toxic herbicides to eliminate these plants growing in the wrong place. Sometime only a few onces per acre will eliminate all but the desired crop.

I don't get too hung up on weeds. 

If another plant doesn't cause economic damage or go to seed we just work around the undesired species.

Many farmers are discovering that other species may actually enhance their crops. Instead of competeing for resources, the alternate plants can actually enhance their crop.

The models for this are actually seen in the polyculture prarie where multiple species exist in symbiosis.

Nature never leaves the ground bare and maybe we farmers shouldn't either.

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