Oct 9, 2020.
2. Trampling weeds
This rather simple regenerative garden technique has many benefits.
I first learned about trampling weeds in the video I'll link you to here, at 10.40 minutes. It is about a couple with a nearly thirty year old food forest and a village environment centre in New Zealand. They have done a fabulous job and the whole video is full of learning moments, and beautiful and inspiring. I've watched it about eight times. The film maker has made a series of interesting videos for 'Happen Films' in this vein.
Anyway, I pushed trampling to the back of my mind, thinking, yes, one day when I have a hectare. However, since becoming converted to regeneration-ism (it is like a religion, I tell you) I've been using it more often.
Just now I wanted to clear a bit around the lemon tree in a neglected part of the garden with lots of small trees that is intended as a food forest. I started clipping and then ran out of patience and just trampled the grass and Commelina cyanea to the ground. Commelina is often confused with wandering jew which it is not ! Its actually scurvy weed. Its stems break easily underfoot. Mature grass invites trampling. It sort of lies down horizontally as it ages, and the bottom of it forms a dense brown mat that starts to decompose while the plant is still alive, Yum for nunus (small and microscopic animals) !
is a very quick way of giving a plant that is overwhelmed by an invader
some space to breathe and get sun. Then you can come back later with
more rigorous methods if the trampling is not effective enough. This way
roots stay in the ground and the soil microbiome is not disturbed, so that they soil life remains diverse and healthy. In addition, if the plants remain alive, the remaining roots may still give off sugars into the ground, sustaining soil life. If the plants die, then their decaying roots will also feed the soil with organic matter. We can also maintain plant diversity in the garden by trampling weeds this way, without such negative impacts from invasive plants. The trampling sets them back, keeps them in check, but doesn't kill them. This replaces the beneficial effects of cows trampling vegetation used in regenerative agriculture, with something more appropriate in an urban garden.
Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or stories to share on gardening, permaculture, regenerative agriculture, food forests, natural gardening, do nothing gardening, observations about pests and diseases, foraging, dealing with and using weeds constructively, composting and going offgrid.
Check out our selection of ecological designs printed on T-shirts, accessories and decor items. The designs are about soil regeneration, indigenous Cape wild flowers, wild African animals and other fauna, as well as bible quotes and geometric patterns.
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