I spent some time pulling Weeds in the lovely Cool of the Morning. My focus was on the Garden on the West Side of the House where we have Flowers, Herbs, Native Plants, and the Grape Arbor. Attending to the Gardens on the West Side of the House permitted me to extend the Cool of the Morning as part of the time I benefited from the Shadow of the House.
We have done a good job Mulching in the Plants with Grass Clippings, so there is very little Bare Soil. None the less, a few Weeds have made themselves at home and they called my attention.
I love to work among the Plants. I usually sit on my upside down Bucket so I am Close to the Plants and Closer to the Soil. My Knees don't quite bend like they used to, so the Bucket is a real Friend in the Garden. I usually have my Trusty Hand Tool, which is always ready for such excursions.
I love the smell of the Soil and the Plants. I enjoy getting Dirty. I love to watch the little Communities of Life around me. Sometimes Weeding is just an excuse to be closer to being a Part of It All.
I find Weeding meditative. I don't focus on the Big Picture, because I would be quickly overwhelmed. Weeding would become "Work", which is not my intent. Rather, I focus on one Weed at a time. Many were some of the "Usual Suspects", which I have been reading about in Weeds of the Northern U.S. and Canada http://butterflyhillfarm.blogspot.com/search?q=Weeds+of+the+Northern+U.S.+and+Canada. I try to know some of their Story, which opens my Mind and my Heart to more of Life.
So I focused my Attention on the Weeds. One by one, I either pulled them by hand or cut them out with my Weeding Tool. I noted some very interesting pieces of information:
(1) Roots of Weeds hold Soil. I was simply amazed by all the loose Soil I pulled up with each Weed. I shook off the Soil over the Garden Bed.
(2) Roots of Weeds penetrate clods, breaking them up.
(3) Weeds add living matter to the Soil.
(4) The Cover of Weeds kept the Soil in the Garden Beds Cool and Damp. I felt a definite difference when working where there were no Weeds. The area was Hotter and Dryer, even Harsh.
We do use Grass Clippings as Mulch, which protects the Soil and breaks down over time to return Nutrients. But those Grass Clippings are a Short Term Fix. I am wondering what kinds of Ground Cover and Interplanting that we can put into Place to mimic Nature, to the extent that we know.
I do plan to use "Pussy Toes", which is a Native Tallgrass Prairie Ground Cover. My Gardening Mentor, Marcia Melberg, introduced me to this lovely Gray Green Plant probably 20 years ago. It is one of my favorites. I was absolutely thrilled that we have a lot of it on the Farm. I already have 3 plugs in the Garden Beds. That is not much; I will be planting more over time. I am also sure I will find other choices. I just need to be open.
Weeds seem to be Nature's First Responder System to "Bare Soil". The Weeds seem to protect the Soil for the next Succession of Plants which will take the Soil and Plant Life to the Next Level. I admit that I like the look and feel of Bare Soil. I surely must be a product of my Culture. Bare Soil comes with potential for considerable loss. I need to be attentive as to how I can protect that Soil which is the Essence of Life.