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Noxious weed or valuable native?

05/27/2014 in native plants, weeds


mockingbird visits

mockingbird visits

I keep a few pokeweeds around for the birds, and the photo-ops…

poke berries and raindrops

poke berries and raindrops

Awfully pretty…

Article by Georgia DNR advocating the value of pokeweed for the wildlife

One of the most fascinating and valuable plants in my backyard is not found in a flower bed, nor is it watered or fertilized. It grows in a narrow, undeveloped border between my yard and my neighbor’s garden.
You can use pokeberry to teach about times when something that appears to have little value can turn out to be a real treasure.

The above article discusses the giant leopard moth, hummingbirds, various mammals that make use of the pokeweed… And goes on to discuss medicinal uses, and surprisingly… even uses in solar tech!

Arts and crafts
Any discussion about pokeweed needs a mention of the constitution having been written with pokeberry ink…
Here’s a recipe for ink

Personally, I’m not going to eat anything that requires several changes of water to avoid poisoning… there are lots of weeds I can boil…

Green Deane talks at length about preparation

The Alabama Indians referred to Europeans as “those who eat poke weed.”
boiling was a difficult task… for a green that has far less nutrition than say a rat.

There are a lot of people who complain about the seedlings…


And as can be clearly seen… there are some seedlings… but to give the plant it’s due… I had a pokweed growing here for a number of years… before replacing it with these daylilies this Spring…
Of course there’s babies!


If the soil is moist, the seedlings pull easily…

ready to be mulched

ready to be mulched

The daylilies can now be mulched…
I could have saved a step… by mulching with the pokeweeds….
The permaculturists will tell you that the pokeweed is a valuable part of their soil-building regime, bringing up nutrients from the subsoil beyond where their garden plants can reach…
See Native Options for Permaculture Nutrient Accumulators

Additionally… there’s a field of thought that suggests leaving some weeds growing in the garden helps the target crop by opening routes to the deeper nutrient reserves…
As discussed in this 100+ page monograph: Weeds Guardians of the Soil by Joseph A. Cocannouer

in summation
While a weed patch might not be the most attractive sight by today’s standards, a true conservative… might want to re-examine cherished beliefs, and recognize the value of the naturally occurring plants… And take heart from Matthew 6:28;

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.
They don’t toil, neither do they spin…

God put them there for a purpose… and as Earth’s Caretakers, it’s our responsibility to seek out those purposes and work within God’s handiwork, rather than in opposition.

pokeweed gif

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by stone

Varmints in the garden

06/15/2013 in pests

When we aren’t able to fence the varmints out, we can try to discourage the animals by making our plants unpleasant to the taste.

For deer and rabbits, I generally get very good results with an egg mixture… mix an egg or two in a blender of water, use a water sprinkling can to apply).
Reading most ‘deer-away’ commercial ingredient lists usually turns up egg solids as the effective ingredient.

I make my own.

I use a fork to mix the eggs and water, but you can use a blender… if you are willing to clean up the mess afterwards…
Sprinkle the mixture over all the affected plants. Try to get all the leaves wet.

Unfortunately, some of the problem animals like eggs!


I caught this mouse in a squirrel cage, baited with carrots… Rats and mice will eat our plants, and they’re not gonna be bothered by eggs.

I’m getting some good results with datura and brugmansia.

teaI collect some leaves, stems, and/or roots, and cook up a nice herbal tea for the critters. after it cools, I’ll mix with some additional water… 1:1 and treat the plants that are being consumed.

It’s on you whether you chose to apply this solution to the vegetable garden.
Some people are terrified of the daturas/brugmansias.
They talk about the potential for the vegetables to absorb the toxins, as some studies seem to suggest about the insecticides and herbicides.
If you already use chemicals in your garden, you are unlikely to be concerned about this far-fetched possibility.

To all the organic people, datura and brugmansia are organic, and in my experience, they wash off with the first rain, and the critters begin eating those treated plants immediately.

These sweet potato plants were immediately set upon the day after the rain.


Tender-hearted gardeners aren’t making friends with catch and release.
With a very few exceptions, catch and release is a bad idea.
If you don’t want the varmint at your house, I certainly don’t want it at mine.

I’ve heard people claim that nobody lives anywhere near where they dump their catches.
They really don’t know that… and,  could be disrupting the balance of the critters that live there with all that dumping.

Those new critters are going to be in competition with the critters that are already there, for available food resources.

It’s often a death sentence for those dumped critters…  a slow death… of starvation.


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Worst weeds

06/11/2013 in invasive plants

I was talking to a fellow garden blogger today… and he mentioned that a part of getting his nursery certified was getting his cogongrass eradicated.

Cogongrass has been in the news, I see reports on “The Farm Monitor” and “The Ag Journal” on network television… I’d seen the field guide to cogongrass identification but I really didn’t know all that much about it… Went to google… made for interesting reading and viewing…  in watching those videos, I remarked on it’s similarity to Johnson grass…

cogongrass seems to be worse…

Cogongrass has been called one of the world’s ten worst weeds… This seems like a pretty serious claim, and I was curious what other weeds made the list…

Found a list for Mississippi:

Found this list:

It’s kind of hard to take it seriously though… a list that includes lamb’s quarter and purslane? Lambsquarter is a valuable food item at my house, and purslane could be… and neither is any great shakes as weeds… If you wanted to include annual weeds, chamberbitter (Phyllanthus niruri) and mulberry weed (Fatoua villosa) would make far better candidates…

It seems like a list of the worst weeds should take into account things like rizomes, stolons, and the born pregnant qualities of the 2 above annuals.

A better list would be this list of Georgia invasives

My list?

Glad you asked…

In no particular order,

  1. nutsedge
  2. bermuda grass
  3. Florida betony
  4. johnson grass
  5. chickweed
  6. chamberbitter
  7. mulberry weed
  8. Chinese wisteria
  9. morning glories
  10. better place cogon grass on the list.
  11. Stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum)
  12. wavy leaf basket grass (Oplismenus hirtellus ssp. undulatifolius)
  13. eleagnus
  14. privet
  15. Japanese honeysuckle
  16. dodder
  17. creeping charlie
  18. dichondra
  19. dollar weed (Hydrocotyle sp.)
  20. Houttuynia cordata
  21. duchesnea

With a bit of walking around other people’s gardens, I could easily extend this list to a hundred… bringing it down to 10 probably wouldn’t be as easy.

Do you have a bad weed? I’d like to hear about it.

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