Thanks, and please weed on…

Everything is growing, growing, growing… especially the dock, fireweed, Kikuyu, and the bill at the irrigation supplies shop….. but Feast Farms have invoiced their first customers – yay! (teeny amounts, but it’s a start).

Tom at Foxground – November 2012

Most importantly though, we (my wonderful, patient, often dragged along for the ride, family), are all still smiling and enjoying the learning. Many thanks to our wonderful markets customers each week, to Green Box and The Little Blowhole Cafe who are supporting our efforts, and of course to our friend Kerry, without whose generosity, none of this would be possible.

The gorgeous Kerry at one of our dawn meetings!

We had a visit from a Land journalist a few weeks ago, so keep an eye out for the early December issue of the paper for the ensuing story. Jacqueline is bringing Foodscape Tours to visit for the next three Saturdays which will be fun too. All the excitement just means one thing to me though… boy have I got a lot of weeding to do! Anyone want to come and help? I can pay in lettuces…. 🙂

How to ruin a paddock.

I have been watching this paddock over the last year or so, as I pass by a couple of days a week. It looked to me like a fairly normal sort of pasture, complete with a few grazing horses. But then one day the horses were gone, and it was all black. It had been burnt completely, releasing all that stored carbon into the atmosphere, and destroying all those grass roots so effectively stabilising the soil.

Fireweed is a highly invasive and opportunistic weed native to south eastern Africa. It quickly colonises overgrazed pastures and disturbed areas.

It was then left for months and months, so that rain after rain could remove any topsoil, and leave 10-20 cm deep erosion channels in the sand, running the length of the paddock. The natural progression for this distressed ground was of course for the fireweed to move in. Declared a noxious Weed of National Significance, fireweed has now taken over, flowering beautifully to ensure it continues to spread and flourish all over the South Coast. I presume a herbicide will be sprayed next? This will ensure the soil becomes more acidic, and hostile to the microbes trying to heal it. Sigh.

Can anyone explain why this poor management of the land is allowed to occur? Next week…my neighbour who has Astro Turfed his “nature strip”. Again…sigh.

So, is it really a weed?

Or maybe I should call this, “PLEASE don’t Roundup!”  The evidence is mounting, and is irrefutable (hey, it was posted on Facebook), glyphosate is not the harmless, readily degradable herbicide it was touted to be. Just Google it to find out for yourself. It makes me despair to see it being used on garden paths (boiling water works wonders on the path and paver offenders), and in children’s playgrounds. Is any risk worth it?

- Jacob Vardy

A weed is not necessarily a weed anyway. A herbalist might call it medicine, an environmentalist might call it erosion prevention, animals might call it home, and sometimes even if it’s not meant to be there, it’s just downright beautiful…

Apple mint escaped into roses

Chilies blanketed with 'weeds'