|Liebig began the chemical experiments with soil and crops|
that led to inorganic fertilizers.
Bindweed and Crab Grass are prodigal providers of seed. Bindweed is the evil cousin of Morning Glory, so it loves to hide in bushes and wrap itself around plants. Pulling it out can simply add more seeds to the collection in the soil.
Crab Grass came over as a grain and escaped with great success, like dandelion and day lilies.
Weed seeds survive in the soil as long as 40 years, so simply turning over the soil can expose them to sunlight and prompt them to grow.
The key to weed reduction is not herbicides, which are especially effective on bushes and flowers, but to use Jackson Mulch. I did not invent Jackson Mulch, but emulating the Roman Empire, adopted the technology to my growing and needy rose gardens.
Jackson Mulch is simply a complete layer of newspapers, weighed down by shredded wood mulch, leaves, or compost. I favor wood mulch for keeping the newspapers in place. Leaves are not reliable in keeping down the newspaper, if the wind picks up and dries them out. Sticks and branches can also be used. Compost is great because it combines the ingredients and soil creatures, even earthworm egg capsules. that the soil requires.
Newspaper style mulch works because the cellulose will break down in time, unlike plastics and "landscaper's cloth." The first effect of the newspaper layer is to block the sun. If you think that does not kill everything below, leave a big sack of seed or mulch on the lawn for a week or two.
The vitality of the weed is rendered null and void with no sunshine to sprout the seeds. In fact, the mass of weeds will quickly turn into the best compost, including their roots below. The greens decompose very fast and the roots leave spaces in the soil when they die. All this feeds the soil creatures, which simply love darkness, damp, and rot.
The sun baked weeds turn into dark enclosed compost, especially because the moisture previously dried up by sun and wind is held down below to feed the process of decomposition.
The gardening industry wants people to believe that inorganic fertilizers help plants, when the chemicals only do their job when available to the plant roots. Most of the inorganic fertilizer will pass down into the water table, as proven by one rose grower who had terrible results with fertilizer while his friends were having great results with organics.
The clue is simple - soluble, that is, available chemicals. The atmosphere is 80% nitrogen, so why would plants lack nitrogen?
|The lightning makes nitrogen compounds in the rain that give|
seed for the sower and bread for the eater.
Classroom - Nitrogen
But nitrogen compounds, such as ammonium and nitrates, do mix with water. If those nitrogen compounds exist in the air, they can mix with water and come down with rainwater. The question then is, how can stable nitrogen molecules convert to nitrogen compounds? The answer is that it takes energy. For example, lightning provides enough energy to split nitrogen molecules and stimulate the formation of nitrates -- molecules with nitrogen and oxygen molecules. Bacteria decomposing animal manure and internal combustion engines are also sources of energy that produce nitrogen compounds that can end up in the atmosphere.
Green, leafy plant material is high in nitrogen compounds, so smothering the weeds with mulch will give those compounds to the good plants. We mulched large areas of lawn months in advance, to have a garden area ready - without tilling or back-breaking digging. We also mulched after the roses were planted, so the lawn decomposed around the plants to feed them as they grew.
Having mulch around the entire fence perimeter meant that we had plenty of easy digging to plant 30 asparagus, 16 roses, beans, peas, and other plants.
Long-term, the soil creatures are moving bags of usable nitrogen. I have neglected the earthworm, which we take for granted, in favor of the soil microbes. Next is a post on the earthworm's role.
|Crabgrass can be mowed or mulched.|
Pre-emergent toxins can be used, but do not let
children play in the grass.