As I began to mow our lawn for the first time this year, I noticed how strong the spring dandelions were coming in. I pulled one very large plant, growing where in the past nothing grew because it was shallow soil above the septic tank, and noticed how rich and soft the soil was.
Many years ago, a caretaker for this place decided to try to make the lawn look like a golf course. His intentions were good but unfortunately he treated the lawn many times with weed-and-feed herbicides and I have a feeling that he contaminated and damaged the soil from this.
The reason I believe this is because, although my lawn is covered in weeds such as dandelion, queen-annes-lace, chicory, and plantain, my valley has almost none of this.
A few years back we decided to let the chickens have free reign over the lawn for the winter and though they raised the nitrogen levels of the soil significantly, they also favored the weeds instead of the grasses.
As I mow over mats of solid queen-annes-lace and dandelions, I wonder if these edible and medicinal weeds are trying to tell me something. I wonder if they are really here to renew the soil. I have found that treating things with chemicals is only a short-term solution to these problems and I don’t want to further poison my soil so I am letting things go naturally. I may add some grass seed or try a little corn-meal as a way to favor the grasses and see how things go for the next few years.
Meanwhile, I will have an abundant back-up food supply and medicinal cupboard in my back yard if I need it. The soil should continue to gain nitrogen and get healthier with the tap-root weeds adding nitrogen deeper into the soil.
I may also begin to let my comfrey go to seed to add yet another very productive weed to the mix. Growing weeds is so much easier but they can take over! 😉
I also noticed as I mowed that I was getting a lot more compost out of each mowing. Long term I want to add nice perennials to the yard and make it look prettier but I doubt I will ever see the complete absence of weeds.
It may not look as pretty as a golf course, but it should be quite healthy, thick and green. I’m hoping guests will understand and appreciate the more wild nature of the yard.
Here’s a shot only 4 days after I mowed all the flowers off! Arghhhh!
Now, if I can just get rid of the over-abundance of invasive rose bushes on the rest of my 160 acres without chemicals….!