Weeds Are Allies, Not Enemies

Weed Are Allies, Not Enemies

The Healthy Environment Group continues to go from strength to strength with enthusiastic new members joining the team last month. Our focus at present is to give you a series of articles on alternatives to harmful herbicides and pesticides so you can do your bit for the planet as well as keeping your family, pets and neighbours safe.

One of our members Sherree Matthews was fortunate to attend a Peter Andrews workshop last month. Peter Andrews is best known from his appearances on ABC’s Australian Story.

Peter Andrews is a bushie born and bred and has spent his whole working life on the land. His theories are not just theories: he has got down in the dirt and proved they work. Peter describes himself as someone trying to read the
landscape and so achieve better management of it.

The future? It is in our hands. Peter Andrews offers the knowledge and a strong hand up that is so necessary.

Aldo Leopold once said.’ A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it does otherwise.’

Weeds are Allies, Not Enemies- There are many things farmers can do to make their properties more sustainable and so more profitable in the long term, but if I had to suggest just one to start with it would be ‘Don’t kill your weeds’ Allowing weeds to grow is the single most effective step a farmer can take to make the land more productive. It costs nothing on the contrary it saves money and the results start to show by the following season. All it requires is a change of mindset. [1]

The fact that thistles are growing in a paddock shows that thistles need to be growing there. In other words it shows that soil lacks fertility and needs to be regenerated. Thistles do the job perfectly. What is needed when soil lacks fertility is an aggressive plant, one, that grows rapidly and adds organic bulk to the soil and two, deters animals. Let the thistles grow as tall as you then slash them, the thistles lay on the ground as mulch, ready to enrich the soil, not to mention the mass of thistle root material below the surface. [2]

If you have blackberries growing as an individual bush in a paddock and if your mind is set on getting rid of it consider this option. Cut a hole into the bush with hedge clippers or a brush cutter and plant a tree there, maybe a deciduous tree. The bush will protect the tree from horses and cattle while its growing and when the tree is big enough it will shade the blackberries which eventually will die, the tree will grow well too, there’s always plenty of fertility under a blackberry bush. Apply the same principles to all weeds. [3]

For more information on Peter Andrews Natural Sequence Farming Methods you can visit his web site www.naturalsequencefarming.com.au or read his books- Back from the Brink and Beyond the Brink.

1. Back from the Brink- Peter Andrews p138
2. Back from the Brink- Peter Andrews p128
3. Back from the Brink –Peter Andrews p135

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