For most gardeners and farmers – weeds are bad news in the garden or farmland. These invasive plants often create unwanted competition for sunlight, space, and food in your garden bed. When left unchecked, these weeds also tend to hide pests. The diseases may destroy your next harvest. It is why many gardeners spend hours pulling them out. You can only do it when you know the types of weed.
Most of you will likely pull out unwanted growth in your yard. But did you know that not all weeds harm your farmland or garden? Here we discuss how weeds can benefit your garden or farm and why you should let them stick around.
Benefits of Weeds
It is indeed true that weeds sometimes spell trouble for your garden. Yes, most of them get a bad rap for aggressive plant species, thus competing for resources with your main crops.
However, certain species of weeds can help your garden become more productive and lush. Some types of weeds can do an excellent job of helping you maintain your garden. You should be aware of the benefits, so you know how to handle them when you see them in your garden.
Weeds Can Nourish the Soil
At times weeds are notorious for sucking up nutrients from the soil they grow and distributing them to their leaves. However, when such weeds die, the leaves fall back to the ground. In the process, the nutrients are delivered back to the topsoil.
Furthermore, certain garden weeds indicate a need for certain soil nutrients. In such a scenario, you should add soil amendments whenever necessary.
They Can Protect the Soil
Even you would agree that one of the most annoying qualities of weeds is that they grow quickly. But it is precisely this characteristic. It is this feature that makes them beneficial for your garden. They can serve as a living mulch, thus protecting your garden’s soil. Their roots can also help prevent wind and even rain induced erosion. Which might be common in rainy areas.
They Condition the Soil
Weeds can help you create a no-till garden. Meaning, when these weeds die, their roots aerate the soil while also making small tunnels. These tunnels are through which earthworms can bore.
Weeds Can Attract Beneficial Insects
Most weeds have a short lifespan. So they have to produce flowers, ensuring the next generation’s survival. These bright flowers are filled with sweet nectar that attracts pollinators.
Types Of Weed – And Effects Of Weeds
Do you know that dandelions are a weed that can be good for your garden? Dandelion is one of the quickest weeds to spread with each flower head. The weed can scatter at least a hundred seeds when a strong wind blows.
This plant is a nutrient accumulator meaning its deep-seated roots can collect minerals like phosphorus, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, and silicon. These same roots also loosen densely packed soil. Moreover, they also attract beneficial insects, including wasps, ladybugs, and lacewings.
Chickweed is so beneficial that it can tell you when your soil needs help. If you have chickweeds growing in your garden, it could signify that your soil lacks phosphorus or calcium. So there is an overabundance of potassium or sodium in it. These weeds also appear in disturbed soil, highly-tiled areas, and soil that indicates low fertility. You can also eat chickweed or use it as medicine.
White Clover is great at attracting pollinators, among other things. When you discuss the effects of weeds, you must remember this one. You will see white clover often showing up in nitrogen-lacking, hardpan clay soil. The weed can transfer airborne nitrogen into the soil, which is often used by your main crops in the garden or farm. They can also accumulate mineral phosphorus. These plants also attract ladybugs and other pollinators looking for nectar. The edible flowers of these plants – you can add to a salad.
The broadleaf plantain is excellent for helping with bug bite pain. This broadleaf plantain commonly grows in compacted soil. It can accumulate sulfur, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, and silicon. These can also be used as medicine because the weed is known to help reduce the pain and itching caused by bug bites.
Do you know that yarrow can attract good insects to your garden? This types of weed is good for soil improvement since its deep roots accumulate phosphorus, potassium, and copper from the subsoil.
These weeds can also serve as a compost activator which speeds up decomposition. It can be used as a living mulch in dry areas. You can also use it as a cover crop that can help fertilize the soil and, at the same time, improve fruit production.
The plant can attract bees and bugs such as wasps, lacewings, ground beetles, spiders, ladybugs, and hoverflies. Remember that its pungent scent often makes it a great pest repellant.
Chicory roots are great to use as a coffee substitute. It has pleasant periwinkle-blue flowers – has similar benefits to your garden as dandelions. Also, you can use the root as a coffee substitute. You can also use it to make a tonic if you have an upset stomach or to ease digestion problems.
A stinging nettle is a weed that can help your soil retain moisture. Stinging Nettles are ideal companion plants that can attract beneficial insects when they repel pests. The weed is also great at fertilizing the soil, and it keeps it moist. What’s more, it can be served as food, medicine, and as herbal ingredients for human consumption.
Queen Anne’s Lace
Queen Anne’s Lace is also beneficial for your gut health. There are other effects of weeds, too. Queen Anne’s Lace is also called wild carrot – it is a plant that has been used for centuries in herbalism. Moreover, it has a long history of medicinal use. It is also popular because it can soothe digestive disorders, especially kidney and bladder diseases. You can also use its flowers and seeds in soups and stews.
Mugwort is excellent at giving back to your garden soil. Yes, this bitter-sweet-smelling weed is as beneficial as it is persistent. That sounds interesting, right? Though many landscapers shudder at the thought of having these in the garden it is beneficial for your garden. It can absorb heavy metals from the soil and prevent erosion. Moreover, it can nourish the soil with nutrients it may lack in the long run.
Do you know that burdock is another good weed for gut health?
Despite its reputation for being a pesky weed, Burdock is known for its medicinal value. It is also a powerful food source though it is a weed. It supports skin health and promotes healthy gut flora. These types of weed will also help move stagnant lymph from the body.
As you might be aware, beneficial weeds accomplish several things for your garden. They can help fertilize the soil and increase the moisture level. They also serve as a living mulch, repel pests, and can even attract insects and bugs – which are helpful to your main crops. Moreover, some of these weeds can be used as tasty ingredients in your kitchen and even used medicinally.
Knowing the effects of types of weed and the benefit of weeds in your garden – will you think twice before you pull up another weed? Now you will surely start to recognize the weeds you see in your garden.
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